A network of anti-fracking groups is urging supporters to prepare for a government U-turn on the moratorium in England.
Frack Free United urged its supporters to remain vigilant with the imminent submission of a report on the science of fracking, due by Thursday (30 June 2022).
The energy secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, who commissioned the report, said in a recent speech he would “consider the next steps”.
A moratorium on fracking in England has been in force since November 2019. This was introduced after fracking by Cuadrilla at its Preston New Road site in Lancashire caused a series of small earthquakes, one felt across the region.
In a newsletter, Frack Free United warned:
“The Minister may give the green light to a U-turn on fracking and we need to be prepared.
“We must remain vigilant and, more importantly, connected.
“We must continue to lobby for change in the places that matter and make policymakers aware of the strength of feeling against oil and gas companies wanting to invade our communities.”
Mr Kwarteng said he had asked the British Geological Survey to look again at the science around shale gas extraction following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. He added:
“We have always been clear that shale gas could be part of our future energy mix, but we need to be led by the science and above all we need to have the support, the ongoing support of local communities.”
Steve Mason, from Frack Free United, tweeted in response to Mr Kwateng’s speech:
“Fracking free groups are on high alert tonight. Enough is enough. Communities in 190+ constituencies need certainty. … Or get ready for the division, disruption and no joke neighbourly distasteful attitudes all over again. They’ve not gone away, just rested.”
He said in the newsletter that the transition to renewables was gaining pace.
“Putting the breaks on now is reckless and foolhardy for our country, communities and climate change.”
Frack Free United has called for an immediate ban on fracking in the UK because of the operation’s impact on climate, public health, the environment, local communities and the economy. It also said the UK needed to “invest heavily in clean renewable energy and move rapidly towards a low carbon economy”.
Last week, UKOOG, the organisation representing shale gas companies, urged the government to lift the moratorium so that its members could take advantage of tax breaks for exploration investment introduced in the Energy Profits Levy, or windfall tax.
Analysis by the Labour Party, quoted by the Guardian today, estimated fracking companies would receive £92.50 from the tax payer for every £100 invested. This compared with £25, due to fall to £4.50 next year, for renewables companies.
A consultation on the Energy Profits Levy Bill closes tonight (28 June 2022) at 11.45pm.