Amber Rudd Confirms Government Will ‘Kick-Start’ Fracking

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Fracking rules will be loosened under Amber Rudd’s leadership at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in an effort to speed up shale gas extraction.

In an interview with The Sunday Times Rudd said: “With a Conservative majority I believe we’ll be able to deliver shale, as we’ve always wanted to do, in a safe but beneficial way.” As the Times wrote, under Rudd, the new Conservative government will help to “kick-start a shale gas revolution”.

This will be done by passing secondary legislation that will allow shale gas extraction under national parks; fracking wells however would have to be outside the boundaries of the park.

Rudd has previously stated that: “In the case of areas of outstanding natural beauty and national parks, given their size and dispersion, it might not be practical to guarantee that fracking will not take place under them in all cases without unduly constraining the industry.”

Industry Support

The announcement follows news by DeSmog UK that onshore oil and gas representatives UKOOG welcomed Rudd’s appointment.

And just last week, in an interview with DeSmog UK, Tony Bosworth, energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, predicted that industry activity would undoubtedly speed up in the wake of Rudd’s appointment.

But community opposition remains very strong wherever fracking is proposed,” Bosworth added.

Local Say

Yet, when it comes to allowing communities to agree whether or not the energy industry comes to their town, it appears this is only a priority in the case of onshore wind.  

Rudd’s re-stated commitment to fracking came at the same time as she announced that there will be no more onshore windfarm developments unless they have the support of the local residents.

This is despite widespread support of windpower. According to a DECC survey, 65 percent of the public support onshore windfarms. This is compared to 24 percent of respondents who support shale gas extraction.

@kylamandel

Photo: DECC via flickr

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Kyla is a freelance writer and editor with work appearing in the New York Times, National Geographic, HuffPost, Mother Jones, and Outside. She is also a member of the Society for Environmental Journalists.

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