MPs vote to allow fracking under National Parks

We are disappointed that yesterday the Government voted to allow fracking below the surface of National Parks, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and World Heritage sites.

Earlier this year the Government had promised a ban on fracking in National Parks but did not make clear how this would happen. However, their latest move sees fracking allowed in National Parks below depths of 1,200m. Fiona Howie, our chief executive said:

“It is really disappointing that the regulations have been approved. Especially as Parliament were not given the chance to consider and discuss the concerns we have been raising. 

Fracking should not be allowed to take place under National Parks and other protected areas. We don’t yet know what the longer-term effects of this would be on these protected areas, so given this uncertainty the Government should have kept to their word and prevented hydraulic fracturing in protected areas at any depth.”

Earlier this year, the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) inquiry on the ‘Environmental risks of fracking’ highlighted the continuing uncertainty about some of the environmental impacts of fracking, including the hydrogeological impacts. In its evidence to this inquiry, the British Geological Survey stated: ‘The difficulty lies in the fact that below c.200m there is very little information and data on the hydrogeological properties and potential for movement of pollutants through rocks below this depth.’  Given this lack of certainty, we believe there should be a complete ban on fracking in protected areas at any depth. 

Earlier this week we submitted a response to the Government’s consultation on Surface Development Restrictions for Hydraulic Fracturing saying we are opposed to fracking in and under National Parks. More info here.