The EAC has called for a moratorium on shale fracking in the UK
A select group of MPs has called for a moratorium on shale fracking in the UK, stating in a report that the process is “incompatible” with climate change targets and poses “significant environmental risks” to public health.
The cross-party Environmental Audit Committee will attempt to amend the Government’s Infrastructure Bill in Parliament today, a decision that has been met with contempt by chemicals giant, INEOS, with the company condemning the EAC’s report as a “missed opportunity.”
The company states that the EAC has overly focussed on the potential risks rather than the benefits of Shale gas extraction.
“The Committee deliberately sought out views that focussed on concerns about water quality, emissions and geological integrity and so produced a partisan and partial report,” said INEOS Director, Tom Crotty.
“The Committee refused to see INEOS and didn’t look hard enough at the massive decline in the UK’s manufacturing base and the country’s desperate need for Shale gas to reduce energy costs and revitalise industry.”
INEOS cites the success of shale gas extraction in the USA as a driver for the UK to exploit its own reserves. The drilling of over one million shale gas wells in America has led to a manufacturing renaissance, which has brought both jobs and prosperity to the country and had a very positive influence on the plastics industry.
“The UK needs Shale gas and we know that INEOS has the skills to safely extract it from the ground without damaging the environment,” Crotty added. “Without Shale gas, UK manufacturing will start to collapse so we need to kick start the Shale gas industry, not put it on hold.”
The committee, however, believes the Infrastructure Bill would be “rushing through” changes that would allow fracking to commence without addressing the “considerable uncertainties” it says remain about the potential hazards associated with the process.
Joan Walley MP, chair of the Committee, said: “Ultimately fracking cannot be compatible with our long-term commitments to cut climate changing emissions unless full-scale carbon capture and storage technology is rolled out rapidly, which currently looks unlikely. There are also huge uncertainties around the impact that fracking could have on water supplies, air quality and public health.”