Socialist Worker

Tories open up half of Britain for fracking with new round of licences

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2414

Energy minister Matthew Hancock

Energy minister Matthew Hancock (Pic: Policy Exchange)


The government opened up the license bidding process to frack shale gas in about half of Britain on Monday of this week. 

The Tories were keen to contain the outrage provoked by Environment Agency boss and former Labour minister Chris Smith’s suggestion of fracking in national parks.

Energy minister Matthew Hancock pledged that changes to the rules would “protect Britain’s great national parks and outstanding landscapes”.

But the main purpose of the changes is to speed up the process. 

The Tories hope that some firms could start fracking within six months of getting the licence.

The changes include provisions to frack in protected areas if it can be shown to be “exceptional circumstances” or “in the public interest”.

The new round of bidding follows a government report that shows Britain falling far behind its targets to cut greenhouse emissions.

Measurements were also released showing that last month was the hottest June in recorded history. 

But the Tories are determined to push fracking through despite continuing protests.

Last week fracking firm Tamboran Resources obtained an injunction against protests at its site in Belcoo, Northern Ireland. 

But more than 300 people protested against its exploratory drilling in a quarry.

The Reclaim the Power national campaign has also called protests in Lancashire next month. 

It supports the long running local campaign against fracking by Cuadrilla around Blackpool.


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