UK government ends support for fracking

The UK government has banned fracking in England following the publication of a new report by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), which found that it is not currently possible to accurately predict the probability or magnitude of earthquakes linked to fracking operations.

Business and Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: ‘Whilst acknowledging the huge potential of UK shale gas to provide a bridge to a zero carbon future, I’ve also always been clear that shale gas exploration must be carried out safely… After reviewing the OGA’s report into recent seismic activity at [the Cuadrilla-operated site at] Preston New Road, it is clear that we cannot rule out future unacceptable impacts on the local community. For this reason, I have concluded that we should put a moratorium on fracking in England with immediate effect.’

Operations at Preston New Road, Lancashire, were suspended following a magnitude 2.9 event on 26 August 2019. Cuadrilla has said it will continue to work to ‘address concerns’ over fracking on order to secure a lift on the ban. The company said that it would work constructively with the OGA and would provide further data to prove its case.

According to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) other sources of natural gas will continue to contribute to the UK’s diverse energy mix, with the UK Committee on Climate Change previously stating that there will still be a requirement for natural gas in a 2050 net zero economy. Maintaining diverse gas supplies, for use during the transition as the UK renewable sector grows – or for the production of hydrogen – remains a priority for this government, BEIS said.

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