UK Gov’t Halts Fracking In England Ahead Of General Election
The U.K. fracking industry has grounded to halt as the British government ended its support for the controversial practice of extracting oil out of the ground, reported Bloomberg.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government announced Saturday that all new hydraulic fracturing wells would be banned. The country’s only active site in northwestern England would be immediately shut down.
The move to ban fracking across the country, which involves injecting water and sand into oil wells at high pressure, was followed by the Oil and Gas Authority publishing a new study that concluded there are severe hazards for people living around fracking sites. Some of the pollution risks were toxic water and earthquake-related damage.
Johnson’s administration banned fracking just weeks ahead of a general election. His party is attempting to win over voters in rural areas in northern England, where much of the fracking sites reside.
The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, cheered on Twitter about the fracking prohibition, though he said it was only a “temporary pause” and “an election stunt to try and win a few votes.”
The Conservatives’ pause of fracking is an election stunt to try and win a few votes.
Boris Johnson described fracking as ‘glorious news for humanity’. We cannot trust him.
Labour would ban fracking. That’s real change.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) November 2, 2019
Britain’s business and energy secretary, Andrea Leadsom, said after reviewing the Oil and Gas Authority’s report into fracking-related risks, “we can not rule out future unacceptable impacts” that fracking has on communities.
Seismic activity around a fracking site near Blackpool, a seaside town on the Irish Sea coast of England, operated by shale gas group Cuadrilla Resources, was suspended in August after earthquakes spooked residents.
Cuadrilla has been lobbying for the conservative government to reduce regulations and allow it to start drilling at several sites in northern England.
Intense pressure from Extinction Rebellion environmental activists and declining support from the public has also pressured the conservative government to halt fracking.
Oil and gas companies in the country will likely start exploring offshore drilling.
Rebecca Newsom, head of politics at Greenpeace U.K., said the U.K. attempting to “open up a new fossil fuel industry in this climate emergency was always an awful idea, and it’s only seemed worse as the industry has lurched from mishap to disaster.”