Fracking shake-up: Jacob Rees-Mogg says mining firms must be allowed to cause BIGGER earthquakes when gas is extracted as ban is formally lifted in England
- The government has formally lifted the moratorium on fracking sites in England
- Jacob Rees-Mogg says mining must be permitted to trigger bigger earthquakes
- Ministers argue that the Russia standoff shows the UK must be self-sufficient
Fracking firms will be permitted to cause bigger earthquakes in a bid to kickstart gas extraction – as the moratorium was lifted in England today.
Jacob Rees-Mogg made clear the limit of 0.5 on the Richter scale will be eased, admitting that otherwise no mining would take place.
The Business Secretary has confirmed the axing of the temporary ban, arguing the move will help bolster energy security following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
However, Liz Truss has stressed that any projects will require local support – with suggestions that local residents could get discounts on their energy bills in return for agreeing.
The 2019 Conservative manifesto pledged not to lift England’s moratorium unless fracking was scientifically proven to be safe amid concerns over earthquakes.
The government said today that a long-awaited British Geological Survey review had concluded more evidence was needed – and that required more drilling.
The technology has been championed by Mr Rees-Mogg, and Ms Truss has said gas could start being extracted within six months. It is widely used in the US but there are concerns the UK is far more densely populated.
On BBC Newsnight, Mr Rees-Mogg said: ‘The seismic limits will be reviewed to see a proportionate level. 0.5 on the Richter scale, which is only noticeable with sophisticated machinery, it is quite right that fracking would not take place, that level is too low.
‘But I can’t confirm a new level, because that is being looked at.’
Jacob Rees-Mogg has confirmed the axing of the temporary ban on fracking, arguing the move will help bolster energy security following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Pictured, the Cuadrilla site at Preston
Mr Rees-Mogg has made clear the limit of 0.5 on the Richter scale for earthquakes triggered by fracking will be eased, admitting that otherwise no mining would take place
Ms Truss stressed the need to find new energy sources amid a crisis worsened by Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine when asked if she believes fracking is safe, or whether she is breaking a manifesto pledge.
‘The context we’re talking about here is we don’t have enough domestic energy supplies,’ she told reporters travelling with her during a UN summit in New York.
‘Fracking is a part of the energy mix – we should be looking at all options. No option should be off the table to improve our energy security because that’s the number one issue we face.
‘We will not be going ahead with anything that carries a risk but I’m clear that energy security is vital.’
She also stressed that the Government will only authorise fracking in areas where there is local support. It is not yet clear exactly what incentives will be offered.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said lifting the ban meant future applications will be considered ‘where there is local support’.
Developers will need to have the necessary licences, permissions and consents in place before they can commence operations.
The Government also published the British Geological Survey’s scientific review into shale gas extraction, which was commissioned earlier this year.
BEIS said the review ‘recognised that we have limited current understanding of UK geology and onshore shale resources, and the challenges of modelling geological activity in relatively complex geology sometimes found in UK shale locations’.
The Government argued that the limited understanding should not be a barrier to fracking, but instead a reason to drill more wells to gather more data.
‘It is clear that we need more sites drilled in order to gather better data and improve the evidence base, and we are aware that some developers are keen to assist with this process,’ a BEIS statement said.
Liz Truss (pictured in New York this week) has stressed that any projects will require local support – with suggestions that local residents could get discounts on their energy bills in return for agreeing
‘Lifting the pause on shale gas extraction will enable drilling to gather this further data, building an understanding of UK shale gas resources and how we can safely carry out shale gas extraction in the UK where there is local support.’
The Government also announced a new oil and gas licensing round, expected to be launched by the North Sea Transition Authority in early October.
This is expected to lead to more than 100 new licences being granted to search for oil and gas in the North Sea.
Environmental groups hit out at the move to lift the ban, with Greenpeace energy security campaigner Philip Evans warning fracking was ‘a dud’.
‘As energy experts keep telling ministers, drilling for more fossil fuels – whether it’s fracking or North Sea oil and gas – will not lower bills, make us less dependent on volatile fossil fuel markets or cut our carbon emissions.
‘And fracking may not even work at all. Even when the Government went ‘all out for shale’, the frackers produced no energy for the UK but managed to create two holes in a muddy field, traffic, noise and a colossal amount of controversy,’ he said.
Source: Read Full Article