Brussels – The vote yesterday in the House of Commons supporting a moratorium on fracking shows how attempts by the shale gas industry have failed to gain greater public acceptance, especially in areas where fracking is likely to take place, according to advocacy group Food & Water Europe.
“The UK government’s ‘dash for gas’ approach to fracking has backfired,” said Food & Water Europe Director of EU Affairs Geert Decock, “This vote and other recent events illustrate how the movement to ban fracking is growing across the European Union, including the UK. Even though the proposed moratorium in the UK failed to win over a majority of UK MPs at this point in time, affected communities will continue to speak up in favour of a ban on fracking and win over their representatives.”
Last week, officials of Lancashire County Council recommended refusing a planning application to shale gas company Cuadrilla due to concerns about noise and traffic. Also last week, the Environmental Audit Committee in the House of Commons called for a moratorium on fracking “because it cannot be accommodated within our climate change obligations.” Yesterday, Friends of the Earth UK revealed that Chancellor George Osborne made dozens of interventions to fast-track fracking as a “personal priority”, including the delivery of numerous “asks” from shale gas company Cuadrilla. To avoid a moratorium on fracking, the UK government had to accept a number of proposals, such as banning fracking in national parks.
“Events over the past week show that the public acceptance of a shale gas industry is nowhere, especially in areas of the UK licenced for shale gas exploration,” said Decock. “Yet, together with a handful companies, some in the UK government are trying to fast track fracking, disregarding local communities, scientific experts and its own backbenchers. We call on those officials to stand up with the affected local communities to protect their environment, not corporate interests.”
Contact: Geert De Cock tel. +32 (0)2 893 10 45, mobile +32 (0)484 629.491, gdecock(at)fweurope.org