Minister repeats Government policy is to maintain moratorium on fracking

Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng has said fracking “for the time being is over” in the UK.

By Tim Gavell
Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 5:00 pm

In November, amid the general election campaign, the Government called a halt to fracking after research from the Oil and Gas Authority which raised concerns over the ability to predict fracking-linked earthquakes.

In August, fracking by Cuadrilla led to an earthquake measuring 2.9 on the Richter scale, which rattled doors and windows, and several other tremors have been recorded at sites across the country. Environmentalists say it can cause air and water pollution, while supporters say it could be a source of gas for years to come.

Newly elected Tory MP Alexander Stafford asked if the minister would agree with his constituents in his Rother Valley seat in South Yorkshire that “the best way to tackle climate change is to make the moratorium on fracking permanent”.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies in a meeting with Kwasi Kwarteng over the issue of fracking

Responding for the Government during business questions, Mr Kwarteng said: “Yes, absolutely. What I would like to say about fracking is the moratorium is what it says.

"We’re stopping it. The only way it can be resumed is by compelling evidence which so far is not forthcoming.

"So the moratorium stays and fracking, for the time being, is over.”

More properly known as hydraulic fracturing, fracking is a process in which liquid is pumped deep underground at high pressure to fracture shale rock and release gas or oil trapped within it.

The fracking equipment at Preston New Road last year before the ongoing halt was brought in by the Government in November

In the US, fracking has led to cheaper domestic oil and gas prices and reduced the reliance on foreign imports, but the burgeoning industry caused concern around contamination of water sources and proliferation of strong earth tremors.