LONDON (AP) — The British government officially confirmed on Thursday that it was lifting a ban on fracking in England, saying the move would help boost the energy security among Russia’s War in Ukraine.
Prime Minister Liz Truss announced days after taking office earlier this month that she would reverse a 2019 ban on hydraulic fracturing, a controversial technique used to extract oil and gas from shale rock.
Britain must “explore all avenues open to us through solar, wind, oil and gas generation – so it is only right that we have lifted the pause to realize all potential sources of domestic gas”, said Business and Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said Thursday. .
Truss said she “won’t go ahead with anything that involves risk”, but stressed that “energy security is vital”.
The UK government suspended fracking in November 2019, saying it was not possible to accurately predict tremors associated with drilling.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said lifting the ban means future applications will be considered “where there is local support”. Developers will need to have the necessary licenses and permissions before they can begin operations.
Environmental groups have long opposed the practice of hydraulic fracturing, saying it is not an efficient way to generate power, does not help reduce soaring energy bills. and that communities oppose it wherever it is attempted.
“Even when the government pulled out all the stops for shale, the frackers produced no energy for the UK, but managed to create two holes in a muddy field, traffic, noise and a colossal amount of controversy,” said Philip Evans, Greenpeace energy security campaigner. .
A government-commissioned study into the risks of shale gas extraction by the British Geological Survey was inconclusive, saying more data was needed. Officials argued that “the current limited understanding of UK geology and shale resources” should not be a barrier to fracking.
“It is clear that we need more sites drilled in order to gather better data and improve the evidence base, and we are aware that some developers want to participate in this process,” said a statement from the business department. of the government.
“The lifting of the pause on shale gas extraction will allow drilling to collect this additional data, to better understand the UK’s shale gas resources and how we can safely extract the shale gas in the UK where there is local support.”