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Snouts in the trough: Martin Rowson's Guardian cartoon goes straight to the heart of the matter - fracking isn't about ending the energy crisis, or even extracting shale gas in a reasonable way; it is about GREED.

Snouts in the trough: Martin Rowson’s Guardian cartoon goes straight to the heart of the matter – fracking isn’t about ending the energy crisis, or even extracting shale gas in a reasonable way; it is about GREED.

Labour has tabled a legislative amendment to prevent fracking in the UK unless 13 outstanding loopholes in the regulation are closed.

The party first set out its conditions for fracking to take place in March 2012, but says the Government has repeatedly sidelined genuine and legitimate concerns, ignoring gaps in the regulatory framework.

“David Cameron has repeatedly ignored people’s genuine and legitimate environmental concerns over shale gas,” said shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint.

“Despite clear evidence that existing regulations for shale gas are not fit for purpose, the Government seems prepared to push ahead with fracking at any cost.

“While eight out of 10 homes still rely on gas for heating, shale gas may have a role to play in displacing some of the gas we currently import and improving our energy security. But that potential benefit cannot come at the expense of robust environmental protections or our climate change commitments.”

Tom Greatrex MP, Labour’s Shadow Energy Minister, added: “Labour have always said that shale gas extraction cannot go ahead unless there is a system of robust regulation and comprehensive inspection.

“The Tories have belatedly acknowledged that the current regulations are inadequate, conceding to Labour pressure for reform on a small number of issues. But these piecemeal concessions cannot overturn a Tory mindset which is zealously opposed to any further regulation of shale gas in the UK, despite clear evidence that this is necessary.

“There are significant concerns about independent inspection of well-integrity, fugitive emissions and protections for national parks. Labour will force a vote on Monday to prevent shale gas developments in the UK unless these loopholes are closed.”

The message is clear: Unless these dangerous loopholes are closed, Labour wants all plans for fracking in the UK to be abandoned.

This may not be as much as many anti-fracking campaigners wanted, but it is much more than the Coalition Government has offered – and offers a suggestion that Labour may move still further away from any support for the controversial mining method in the future.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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