Fracking set to be banned from 40% of England’s shale areas

The Guardian is reporting that regulations proposed by the Labour Party and approved by the Coalition Government mean fracking will be banned from two-fifths of the land in England.

[Image: The Guardian.]

[Image: The Guardian.]

Labour faced harsh criticism last week, particularly from the Green Party of England and Wales, after it failed to support that party’s call for a moratorium on fracking that would have banned it altogether. Green supporters suggested that Labour had done a deal with the Coalition to abstain on the moratorium in return for support over the 13-point regulation scheme.

In fact, according to the newspaper, “Ministers were forced to accept Labour’s new environmental rules last week to avoid a rebellion by Conservative and LibDem backbench MPs, many of whom are facing opposition to fracking from constituents.”

So there was no dirty backroom deal and 40 per cent of England is free of fracking whereas, if Labour had supported the Green moratorium, none of England would be protected.

The article continues: “Neither the government nor Labour have stated how much of the land available for future shale gas drilling – 60 per cent of England – would be affected by the new bans. But a Guardian data analysis has revealed it is 39.7 per cent, with large swaths of the south and south east off-limits, as well as the Yorkshire Dales and Peak district.

“An independent analysis by Greenpeace also found that 45 per cent of the 931 blocks being licensed for fracking in England were at least 50 per cent covered by protected areas, which it said was likely to make them unattractive to fracking companies.

“Just three per cent of of the blocks have no protected areas at all, Greenpeace found.”

Well played, Labour! That was a good afternoon’s work.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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9 thoughts on “Fracking set to be banned from 40% of England’s shale areas

  1. Ath

    Okay, so instead of banning the exploitation of Britains resources as the Greens wat we can instead go for tory light. So much better. Well played labour. Why do you, a person who has some excellent articles and who is clearly socialist inclined, conmtinue to be an apologist for labour. A neoliberal party. Why?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Because Labour isn’t the neoliberal party you think it is.
      There was no way that fracking was going to be banned. If you’re still thinking it was possible, get that out of your head; it wasn’t going to happen.
      “Tory-lite” or “Tory light”, as you have it, is a silly nickname for Labour put about by adherents of other claim-to-be-left-wing parties. If those organisations really are left-wing, why aren’t they hammering the Tories with their campaigns, instead of helping them by attacking Labour?
      Answer that question, please.

      1. Steve Kind

        Unfortunately for your argument Mike I have a letter from Shadow Cabinet member Rachel Reeves that states categorically that she is in favour of fracking and also in favour of the alterations in the law of trespass to allow fracking companies to drill under our homes without permission.

      2. Steve Kind

        Not the point Mike – She’s shadow cabinet – so was presumably putting Labour policy. Now, I don’t dispute that *some* restrictions on fracking is better than no restriction at all – but this shadow cabinet member wasn’t saying “it’s the best that can be done for now” she was *supporting* fracking as part of the UK’s overall energy policy, and supporting Tory measures to push it through. Here are her actual words:

        “Shale gas does potentially offer an opportunity for the UK to improve our security of energy supply, to replace depleted North Sea gas reserves and to displace some of the gas we currently import. Shale gas should not, therefore, be absolutely ruled out but the regulatory regime does need to be fundamentally overhauled so it is fit for purpose.

        That is why I will be supporting a number of amendments to the Government’s Infrastructure Bill that is currently progressing through Parliament. These Labour Party amendments would close a number of loopholes in existing regulations and include important safeguards concerning planning regulations and the cumulative impact of shale gas developments on a local area as well as new assessments and monitoring requirements for the chemicals used and emissions produced by shale gas extraction.

        I know there has also been concern expressed about proposed changes to underground access rights for shale gas extraction, which are included in Part 5 of the Infrastructure Bill. It is important to note that these proposals will align access rights for shale gas and geothermal energy with a number of other areas such as water, sewage and coalmining, all of which already allow underground access rights. I am not, therefore, opposed to these changes to underground access but I can assure you that I will support efforts to amend the Bill to ensure that fracking could only happen in the context of robust safety and environmental standards. “

      3. Mike Sivier Post author

        You wrote that she said she supported fracking. If she was quoting policy, wouldn’t it make more sense for her to say Labour supports fracking? None of the words you quote mitigate against that.
        Labour policy is not to rule it out but to seek more information about the effects, as far as I can recall.
        Personally, I think she’s a long way off-base where it comes to underground access rights. Water and sewage systems are not going to cause damage to anybody’s homes – they’re part of the infrastructure of our conurbations. Coal mining is a different matter – there was an Act of Parliament allowing householders to claim for damages due to subsidence caused by the mines. That is the operative issue here as well – the likelihood of damage caused by mining.

  2. Damien Willey

    It’ll still be politically toxic, and it’ll still lose them a lot of votes! Nobody wants it yet 60% will still have to put up with it! They should’ve backed the green moratorium and got it banned!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      No – it’s more likely to happen in just three per cent of England – and then only after rigorous checks to fulfil all the regulations.
      There was no way that fracking was going to be banned. If you’re still thinking it was possible, get that out of your head; it wasn’t going to happen. The Coalition were always going to vote that proposal down and they have a Parliamentary majority, in case you hadn’t noticed.

  3. Ian Greenhorn

    You are all talking as if we had a democratic government, we haven’t. We are run by whoever has the proof of the dirty secrets that are in the senior politicians closets.
    The peado info on *****, Lord ******* etc. should be making people ask ‘Who was controlling government policy through blackmailing these people?’ And you can bet the scandal you know about is just the tip of the iceberg.

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