Ministers faced sharp backlash from Conservative MPs reversing the pledge of the manifesto Preventing fracking until it is proven safe, and then indicating that drilling can be carried out without local support.
outlines the return of shale gas extraction in England three years later, Jacob Rees-Mogg The practice has caused concerns about earthquakes to be dismissed as “hysteria”, claiming that it is often caused by a lack of scientific understanding.
But speaking in the Commons, the trade and energy secretary was repeatedly challenged by Tory MPs, who asked how local support for fracking would be assessed and sought assurances on Liz Truss’s pledge that it was needed.
Rees-Mogg declined to be attracted, saying only fracking firms would be urged to financially compensate those affected by shale gas drilling, a practice he said was “in the national interest”.
The Guardian has also learned that Rees-Mogg’s department Can designate fracking sites As nationally important infrastructure projects (NSIPs), this allows them to bypass normal planning requirements.
Such a designation, which has been confirmed by a government source, is being considered, commonly used for projects such as roads and power generation schemes. Applying it to fracking sites would anger many Tory lawmakers.
Mark Menzies, the Conservative MP for Felde in Lancashire, where the fracking took place before ministers halted the exercise in 2019, told the Guardian that using the NSIP system would clearly violate Truss’s promise during his Tory leadership campaign that Drilling will be done with local approval only.
“IF BEIS [the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy] They do this in the face of clear commitments made by the prime minister – there is no if or but, it is clear what he said,” Menzies said.
“Let’s give her a chance to show the people of this country that she is the kind of PM she says she is going to do. Let’s hope we in the field of people don’t feel that they are told one thing and another thing happens. ,
Another Tory MP, whose constituency could be in rift, said the only way he would support it would be if the plans were approved by local planners, with no prospect of decisions.
The MP said, ‘I am going to wait and see what the government does. “But I have marked his card. I’m not a fan of fracking, and I’m not at this stage convinced it’s safe to proceed.”
With continued voting, it marks another political risk to the truce. Showing that fracking isn’t popularAnd there is minimal evidence that England has enough accessible shale gas to make a noticeable dent in energy prices.
The Conservatives’ 2019 manifesto promised to halt fracking until there was more scientific certainty about its safety, particularly on seismic activity triggered by drilling.
a British Geological Survey reportThe report, commissioned by ministers and finally published this week, said the frequency and magnitude of fracking-produced earthquakes is difficult to predict.
But in a particularly belligerent appearance, in a press release announcing the resumption of fracking in a Commons appearance called by a Labor urgent question, Rees-Mogg said its opposition was “sheer ludicrous” and, some The cases, he said, were financed by Vladimir Putin.
“It’s safe,” he said. “It has been shown to be safe. Horror stories have been refuted time and again. I think the frenzy about seismic activity fails to understand that the Richter scale is a logarithmic scale.”
Rees-Mogg said that the previous extent of earthquake activity due to fracking – magnitude 0.5 – was very low, and an earthquake of 2.5 was a completely regular natural phenomenon on a global scale.
Ed Miliband, the shadow secretary for climate change, called the plan a “charter for earthquakes”, promising Rees-Mogg that Labor would “carry this broken promise on its neck in every part of the country between now and the next general election.” will hang”.
labor is expected Upcoming by-election in West LancashireInspired by the departure of the current Labor MP, Rosie Cooper, a de facto referendum on fracking, noting that the constituency was another area where drilling could take place.
The Commons Exchanges revealed the extent of Tory skepticism towards the new policy, with a series of lawmakers pressuring Rees-Mogg over how and how local support would be measured.
Tory MP Sir Greg Knight of East Yorkshire, another area with shale gas reserves, told Rees-Mogg that the security evidence of fracking simply was not there: “Did he know, the safety of the public is not a currency in which some of us choose to guess from?”
An apparently angry Menzies reacted to Rees-Mogg’s comments about opposition to fracking from the outset: “There is nothing awkward about Lancashire or the people of Feld.”
Tory MP Mark Fletcher of Bolsover in Derbyshire expressed concern about Rees-Mogg’s repeated argument that concerned locals could be compensated by fracking firms.
“I have listened carefully to the secretary of state, and I have to say that local consent plans do not seem to be a wash,” he said. “It looks like communities are being bought back instead of being votes.”
Ministers would also be expected to meet considerable resistance from campaign groups, and most likely protests and blockades, if they go ahead with fracking plans.
Tom Fiennes, interim chief executive of countryside charity CPRE, said “there’s no heck in the possibility that people would accept fracking in their neighborhood”.
He said: “It’s wildly unpopular as well as unsafe, which is why it was banned in the first place. That’s why there’s a real fear that the government plans to force fracking on unwilling communities.” will attempt to use the system. To do so would be a surprisingly unfair attack on local democracy.”