MPs reject Labour call for full ban on fracking in England

Labour’s bid to ban fracking in England was defeated in parliament this afternoon. The party’s amendment to the Environment Bill was rejected by 357 votes to 216.

The amendment sought to prevent the issue of consents for associated hydraulic fracturing. It applied to operations that met the definition of fracking in the Infrastructure Act. But it also added a ban on the use of acid intended to dissolve rock.

During a debate on the measure, the anti-fracking Conservative MP, Lee Rowley (North East Derbyshire), said there was no need for a ban:

“Fracking is over, the battle is won. This industry has packed up. It is gone.”

Lee Rowley. Parliament TV

He described the amendment as a “shoddy attempt to play political games”. He said it would cause “unnecessary worry” to people in his constituency, where Ineos has planning permission to explore for shale gas.”

The shadow environment minister, Ruth Jones, said:

“This bill, this debate today and this moment was the government’s chance to tell the fracking companies your time is up. But given the choice between something bold or doing nothing at all, we know what DEFRA [the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] and the secretary of state always goes for.”

Ruth Jones. Parliament TV

She said the definition of moratorium was “a temporary ban” and she told Mr Rowley:

“if he wants to actually ban fracking for ever more, he should vote with us on our amendment.”

A written ministerial statement in November 2019 said the government would take a presumption against issuing further hydraulic fracturing consents.

Rebecca Pow. Parliament TV

The junior environment minister, Rebecca Pow, said:

“This sends a clear message to the sector and to local communities that fracking on current evidence will not be taken forward in England the moratorium will be maintained unless compelling new evidence is provided which addresses the concerns around the prediction and management of induced seismicity. Such evidence has yet to be presented and the moratorium remains.”

Labour’s Cat Smith (Lancaster and Fleetwood) said every fracking application was “a huge environmental concern” and caused anxiety for local people. She asked:

“when will the minister listen and finally take action. Now is our chance, once and for all, to tell the fracking companies that time’s up and put the future of the planet and our community first.”

Barry Gardiner, a former shadow energy secretary, said fracking risked leaving taxpayer with the cost of stranded assets.

Claudia Webb, (Independent, Leicester East), said: “Big polluters must be held responsible for their actions. Fracking is bad for people and the environment. Therefore we must ban it.”

  • The business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, told MPs yesterday: “On fracking, I was very pleased, as Minister of State, to impose a moratorium on it. The language that we used at the time was that it was going to be evidence-focused and scientifically based. There is no new evidence to suggest that we should end the moratorium, so it stays—no more fracking.”

11 replies »

  1. Hmm. I believe the amendment also included some other nonsense, which made any possibility, impossible.

    Maybe that is why, looking at the numbers, Labour failed to get any other support?

    • Martin, if you are right, then that would have been the opportune moment for the Government to add a further amendment that took account of “also included some other nonsense, which made any possibility, impossible”. The Conservative whip could then have stolen Labour’s thunder and banned fracking for evermore.

      • Maybe they didn’t want to ban geothermal, Robin? In terms of acid treatment, maybe they didn’t want to ban water extraction, especially in certain areas of the country where water supply is an issue? Maybe those who are in Government have to make decisions to encompass all rather than virtue signaling to a few?

        Not something the Lib Dems will have to consider for a very long time [edited by moderator] Then, in that far distant future, based upon previous events, the virtue signaling will be abandoned when reality sets in-students be aware, there is “previous”.

  2. Disappointing from the previously anti-fracking MP Lee Rowley, hiding behind the disingenuous 2015 Infrastructure Act

    In the real world fracking is expected to begin soon at Wressle, and acidisation (turning rock into toothpaste as Jonathan Tidswell-Pretorius once described it) is permitted in the Surrey and Sussex Weald.

  3. Still no mention that a major UK insurance company has been refunded some £10K by Cuadrilla for a earthquake damage claim they paid out following the well publicised 2.9 August Bank holiday Monday Hydrofrac Earthquake that Cuadrilla caused.
    Or that quake and those that preceeded it were the real reason that the ‘Moratorium’ on fracking was and still is in place.

  4. Still no mention that a UK insurance company refunded for a new carpet following a red wine spill either. So, let’s have a moratorium on red wine!

  5. Hmm! It’s perhaps not immediately obvious to all how a red wine spill threatens the planet and life on earth. Don’t worry: it will be when Martin gets back to us. Good Lord; talk about trivialisation of a matter of supreme importance to us all.

    • So, what threatens the planet, 1720? Could it be importation of gas from USA that has required fracking to produce? (Over the horizon and out of sight.) Those transport emissions again, that 1720 so conveniently ignores yet still tries to claim the moral high ground with references to the planet and life on earth!
      Talk about hypocrisy, unless a financial interest in those countries currently exporting to the UK. Take your pick, but neither gain the moral high ground.

  6. Watch out for US trade negotiations. Without a ban in law, fracking stays as a negotiating chip for a trade deal and once signed the deal could make it illegal to change our own laws to subsequently ban something US companies then have a financial stake in.

  7. What is it that is threatening the planet? you ask. Come on Martin, you have been posting on DoD for long enough now to have acquired some sort of rudimentary awareness of what you are doing, of the arguments of those you style the ‘antis’ on the one hand and the polluters on the other. Or did you think this was some sort of intellectual exercise at which you’d try your hand.
    Perhaps your question is yet another denier diversionary tactic and your obscure implied ad hominem slur merely the inchoate grumbling of the cornered quarry deprived of his last arguments or defences? Who knows?
    But to take your question at face value. The foreword to the IPCC’s SR1.5 report jointly written with the World Health Organization and the United Nations, “confirms that climate change is already affecting people, ecosystems and livelihoods all around the world…….Without increased and urgent mitigation ambition in the coming years, leading to a sharp decline in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, global warming will surpass 1.5 degrees Centigrade in the following decades, leading to irreversible loss of the most fragile ecosystems, and crisis after crisis for the most vulnerable people and societies.” This, Martin, is what is threatening the planet, as well you know. If your common sense approach leads to the same or to an increased level of emissions, which of course it will, then the temperature increase will be much higher, the threat to the planet even greater.
    But of course, you have perhaps discounted the IPCC as pedlars of gobbledygook.
    I am not claiming any moral high ground as you state, Martin, merely trying to behave and react to events (and increasingly crass and irrelevant arguments) like a human being.

  8. You made your statement, 1720, and although you added the nonsense “to us all”, I asked the question for you to have the chance to explain your statement. However, as usual, you fluffed it, with “same or increased level of emissions, which of course it will” yet the maths. that would be easy for a 10 year old were beyond you. Transport emissions are subtracted so level of emissions are reduced. I am trying to help you catch up with one to one tuition but it seems even the difference between addition and subtraction needs extra work.

    If you ever get around to giving an explanation where the maths. are not trashed, please let me know. You have yet to do so within your extensive posts and continue to fall back upon “something needs to be done.” I have supplied far more detail about what could be done which stacks up with physics and maths. Without you doing so, 1720, you are part of the problem not the solution.

    I think you will find there are many more of “us” around the world more interested in surviving to the end of the month, and the following decades are probably a consideration unlikely to apply, and certainly will not be considered whilst activists go round in circles talking about something needs to be done but refuse to accept simple things that could be done, yet then talk about UK showing the world how to do things without any semblance of maths. or physics correctly applied. Perhaps your intention is to just take part, but until you get things to add up you will just be encouraging many more not to consider that your idea of a human being is where they wish to be. You will find that education is spreading to most parts of the world and many more do now understand maths. and physics, in which case, your “us all” will be a small and reducing group and discouraged from growing, by those who wish to remain part of the problem and not the solution. Maybe start with kids in France? They can understand that the money spent on TGV can now enable the replacement of internal flights, and benefit the environment, yet see activists in UK against such with regard to HS2 making claims about supporting climate change mitigation! Just about the perfect definition of the climate change denier. Yes, best not to claim the moral high ground, 1720. It wouldn’t add up.

    Talking of adding up, wonder when someone will look at certain MPs making support statements for previous decisions around Loxley and their donations from those trying to force through interconnectors?

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