Environmental campaigners across the country are celebrating because of the announcement that fracking in the UK is to be banned. The Government decision was based on a report from the OGA, drawing attention to an increased risk of earthquakes.
Some are saying that it is not a ban but a “morotorium” and that there is nothing to stop the government from reintroducing subsidies for fracking companies, were they to win the December 12th election. I personally believe that the Conservative party is trying to woo the environmentalists vote, by appearing to have a green agenda. So, lets look at some of the evidence, much of it provided by members of Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR).
First of all, what is the difference between the words ban and moratorium? Ban means to prohibit completely, whereas a moratorium is a temporary prohibition of an activity. This is not clear on a first read on the Government website. It starts by saying it is to no longer support fracking but further down uses the word moratorium. So, there you have it. It is an election ploy or “an electoral greenwashing gambit”, as described by one SGR writer. Fracking protesters can stop rejoicing at least until after December 12th, when we know what kind of government is to be running the country.
SGR wrote: “The extent of the government’s greenwashing yesterday is becoming clearer…
As they announced the moratorium (but not complete ban) on fracking, they were also preparing an announcement on the go-ahead for a new coal mine in Cumbria. There has been a lot less media coverage of this issue than the fracking announcement – but at least the local BBC news picked up the story:
Woodhouse Colliery: First UK deep coal mine in decades to go ahead
SGR has been working with the campaigners against this mine and the huge carbon emissions that it would lead to here:
The return of British coal?
Another source (Climate Action Network West Midlands CANWM) has pointed out that the report, on which the Government based it’s decision, came from the Oil and Gas Authority, whose role is to regulate, influence and promote the UK oil and gas industry in order to maximise the economic recovery of the UK’s oil and gas resources“. (https://www.ogauthority.co.uk/about-us/what-we-do/). The OGA have an official policy to Maximise Economic Recovery of UK gas and oil reserves (https://www.ogauthority.co.uk/regulatory-framework/mer-uk-strategy/ ).
Another report in the “i” on 11th November 2019 suggests that the Prime Minister has made a U turn on the issue:
“Boris Johnson accused of fracking U-turn as firms ‘could be allowed to drill for shale gas’ just days after Tories announced ban
Exclusive: The Government has slipped out a document which reveals ministers may allow more fracking in future”
The article, by Hugo Gye, includes the following:
“The Tories announced they would stop all fracking in England at the start of the general election campaign – but just three days later, they quietly issued a document which contradicts that promise, i can reveal.
Civil servants said that “future applications will be considered on their own merits” despite the supposed ban. And they also said there was “considerable merit” in loosening planning laws so local councils would no longer be able to block firms from drilling for shale gas.”
Further details can be found at:
It all sounded a bit too good to be true!