The UK’s next prime minister will be pro-fracking but only if local people want it.
Liz Truss had already suggested the current moratorium on fracking in England should be lifted and decisions left to local people.
Last night, her challenger, Rishi Sunak, said he also backed fracking with local support.
In the TalkTV/Sun leadership debate they were both asked: “fracking yes or no?”.
“Yes if local communities support it.”
They were not asked how local opinions would be measured.
The shale gas industry wants decisions to be taken out of local control and made by planning inspectors or ministers, rather than councillors.
The government is currently considering a review by the British Geological Survey (BGS)on scientific developments in fracking.
The review was commissioned by Kwasi Kwarteng, a Liz Truss supporter, after pressure to lift the moratorium in England.
This was imposed in November 2019 after ministers said it was not possible to predict accurately whether fracking would cause earthquakes and how big they would be.
Fracking by Cuadrilla near Blackpool in Lancashire had caused a series of small earthquakes, some of which were felt across the area.
Earlier this week, the energy minister, Greg Hands, said the government would publish the BGS review and decide on the next steps “in due course”.
The new Conservative leader and prime minister will be known by 5 September 2022, when the UK parliament returns after the summer recess.