Home World PM defends possible breach of Tory manifesto over fracking ban ThePipaNews

PM defends possible breach of Tory manifesto over fracking ban ThePipaNews

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The Prime Minister stressed the energy crisis is “the biggest issue we face” as she defended a potential breach of a Tory manifesto pledge to lift the fracking ban.

iz Truss insisted she will not allow “anything that poses a risk” but the government has yet to produce evidence to show that hydraulic shale gas extraction is safe.

The 2019 Conservative manifesto pledged not to lift England’s moratorium unless fracking is scientifically proven to be safe amid earthquake concerns.

A British Geological Survey review of its safety was commissioned, but its publication was delayed by the Queen’s death.

Officials have suggested it will show more drilling is needed to establish data on the effect of mining on earthquakes.

The document is expected to be published on Thursday as the government sets out how it will end the fracking ban.

Truss stressed the need to find new sources of energy amid a crisis exacerbated by Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine when asked if she believes fracking is safe, or if she is breaking a manifesto promise.

We will not proceed with anything that poses a risk, but I am clear that energy security is essentialLiz Truss

“The context we’re talking about here is that we don’t have enough domestic energy,” she told reporters traveling with her during a United Nations summit in New York.

“Fracking is part of the energy mix – we should look at all options. No option should be off the table to improve our energy security because it is the biggest issue we face.

“We will not move forward with anything that poses a risk but I am clear that energy security is essential.”

She also emphasized that the government will only allow fracking in areas where there is local support. It is not yet clear what incentives ministers will offer local communities.

But on BBC Newsnight on Wednesday night, Jacob Rees-Mogg appeared to indicate that the government would look at the current permitted levels of seismic activity at fracking sites.

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Jacob Rees-Mogg says the government is investigating the permitted levels of seismic activity at fracking sites (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The energy secretary told the programme: “The seismic limits will be reviewed to see a proportionate level. 0.5 on the Richter scale, which is only detectable with sophisticated machinery, it is quite right that fracking should not take place, that level is too low.

“But I can’t confirm a new level, because it’s looking at it.”

Environmental groups hit out at the move to lift the ban, with Greenpeace energy security campaigner Philip Evans warning that 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 – won’t lower bills, make us less dependent on volatile fossil fuel markets or reduce our carbon emissions.

“And fracking might not even work at all. Even when the government went out for shale, 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.

Evans urged the Prime Minister to look at the “proven” solutions to lower bills and increase energy security – renewable energy sources and upgrading the energy efficiency of homes.

Friends of the Earth campaigner Danny Gross said fracking was the most unpopular and least efficient way to generate energy in the UK, was opposed by communities everywhere it was tried, and any attempt to water down the rules protecting against the process would “only add to its unpopularity “.

“If Liz Truss wants to build a strong economy for the future, she should champion home insulation and Britain’s abundant renewable resources. They are cheap, quick to develop and popular with the public,” he said.

Analysis by Friends of the Earth suggests that 91 of England’s 333 local authorities hold oil and gas exploration licences.

Around 143 parliamentary constituencies, mainly in the north of England and the Midlands, have licenses that could potentially allow companies to explore whether there are exploitable gas reserves.

Labour’s Ed Miliband accused the government of breaking “another manifesto promise” and called fracking a “dangerous fantasy”.

“We now have an energy policy for big fossil fuel interests not for the British people. No to windfall tax and yes to dangerous, unsafe fracking,” Labour’s shadow climate secretary said.

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