Friends of the Earth is accusing the government of a “dirty water u-turn” over fracking conditions.
On January 26th, ministers adopted restrictions, proposed by Labour, on where and how companies could frack. The conditions included a ban on fracking in areas that are the source of drinking water. On the same day, most Labour MPs abstained in a vote on a fracking moratorium.
The conditions are part of the Infrastructure Bill. Yesterday, when the bill went to the House of Lords, the government dropped Labour’s proposals in favour of a new set of conditions. These leave it to the Secretary of State to decide how to define groundwater protected areas. See our report for more details. MPs are expected to vote on the revised conditions tomorrow (Wednesday 11th February).
In a campaign launched this afternoon, Friends of Earth urged MPs to vote against the government changes. It said fracking should be banned in groundwater source protection zones 1-3, which are defined by the Environment Agency. It also called for an immediate fracking moratorium.
The organisation said: “While the UK Government attempts to weaken the few protections we have, the rest of Britain is taking measures to protect the health of communities and the climate.”
It called on the government to “follow the lead of Wales and Scotland” by introducing a fracking moratorium so that risks to health and climate change could be investigated.
“The sooner we follow in the footsteps of France, Germany, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, New York State, Denton (Texas) – and the rest of Britain – by stopping fracking, the better for our communities, the climate and our local environment”, Friends of the Earth said.