Newly appointed UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will reimpose an effective nationwide ban on shale gas fracking in England, a spokesperson confirmed. Earlier this month, the ban was lifted by former Prime Minister Liz Truss.
The announcement came after Sunak told lawmakers that he “stands by” his party’s pledge to ban shale gas extraction. In their 2019 policy prospectus, the prime minister’s party said they would “not support fracking unless the science shows categorically that it can be done safely.” Another former prime minister ordered a review of the safety of fracking, but this returned inconclusive results.
Several lawmakers, including some of Sunak’s ministers, have opposed fracking. In June, Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt stated that it would cause “enormous disruption and environmental damage for little if any economic benefit.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “You’ve got the position set out in the manifesto, which the prime minister pointed to. The department will [provide] more detail on that [in time].
Truss lifted the ban on fracking during her brief tenure as the UK’s PM, citing an energy supply crunch. She said fracking would be permitted where communities supported it, but many lawmakers, including those from her ruling Conservatives, opposed the plans.
Truss claimed that fracking could start gas production within six months, but estimates suggest it will take years to produce shale gas. According to the Guardian, the delay in production will not help with the current energy crisis.
The total fracking ban in England was first implemented in 2019 following an earthquake measuring 2.9 on the Richter scale caused by the private company Cuadrilla while drilling a test well near Blackpool. In recent years, Scotland and Wales have independently banned shale gas production. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a technique for extracting gas and oil from shale rock. The gas is released by drilling into the ground and spraying a layer of rock with a high-pressure solution of water, sand, and chemicals.