Politics

Breaking: MPs back fracking under national parks

Douglas Champman 151216

Labour whips have just said that MPs have voted to allow fracking under National Parks and other protected areas.

They say the result was 298 in favour and 261 against, a government majority of 37.

The vote approved the government’s Draft Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing (Protected Areas) Regulations 2015. There was no debate and currently no details on how individuals MPs voted but we’ve compiled a list of members who tweeted saying they opposed or intended to. See bottom of post for the list.

The regulations allow oil and gas companies to drill wells under National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Broads and World Heritage Sites at depths of at least 1,200m.

Some MPs opposed the passing of the regulations when they were read out in the Commons yesterday evening. Under parliamentary rules, the vote was then deferred until today, when MPs filled in paper ballot papers between 11.30am and 2pm.

U-turn

Opponents of fracking have accused the government of a U-turn by allowing fracking under protected areas.

A statement made in January 2015 promised an “outright ban” on fracking in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

But in February, the then Energy Minister, Amber Rudd, told The Telegraph preventing fracking beneath such areas would not be practical and would unduly constrain companies.

Last month, the government made a statement that it wold ban drilling from the surface of National Parks and some other protected areas through a clause in oil and gas licences.

Risk and regulation

Opponents argue the regulations could expose many of the UK’s most fragile and treasured landscapes to noise, air and light pollution, resulting from fracking rigs being situated around the edges of protected areas.

Supporters of fracking have said existing regulations would prevent environmental damage.

Greenpeace has estimated that fracking could take place under 300 square kilometres of the North York Moors, 75 square kilometres of the Peak District and smaller areas of the South Downs, under oil and gas licences expected to be finalised this week. More details

Opponents

The following MPs tweeted to say they voted against or intended to:

Ben Bradshaw, Lab, Exeter

Thomas Brake, Lib Dem, Carshalton and Wallington

Chris Bryant, Lab, Rhondda

Doug Chapman, SNP, Dunfermline and West Fife

Tim Farron, Lib Dem, Westmorland and Lonsdale

Vicky Foxcroft, Lab, Lewisham Deptford

Kate Green, Lab, Streford and Urmston

Lilian Greenwood, Lab, Nottingham South

Andrew Gwynne, Labour, Denton and Reddish

Helen Hayes, Lab, Dulwich and West Norwood

Sharon Hodgson, Lab, Washington and Sunderland West

Stephen Kinnock, Lab, Aberavon

Caroline Lucas, Green, Brighton Pavilion

Ian Lucas, Lab, Wrexham

Callum McCaig, SNP, Aberdeen South

Connor McGinn, Lab, St Helens North

Matthew Pennycook, Lab, Greenwich

Tommy Sheppard, SNP, Edinburgh East

Andrew Smith, Lab, Oxford East

Jo Stevens, Lab, Cardiff Central

Gavin Shuker, Lab, Luton South

Jo Stevens, Lab, Cardiff Central

Alison Thewliss, SNP, Glasgow Central

Mark Williams, Lib Dem, Ceredigion

Sarah Wollaston, Con, Totnes

This morning a few MPs opposed to the regulations went on Twitter to say how they would vote.

Caroline Lucas tweet 151216

Tim Farron 151216

Mark Williams 151216

Reaction to the vote

Full list of voting available 17/12/15. Click here to find out how MPs voted

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