‘Idiotic’ devolution at fault for energy crisis because Wales and Scotland banned fracking claims Daily Mail columnist
The “idiotic” decision to grant Wales and Scotland devolution is partly to blame for the UK’s energy crisis because the Welsh and Scottish governments banned fracking, one of the Daily Mail’s regular columnists has claimed.
Stephen Glover, who was a co-founder of the Independent newspaper, said that Wales and Scotland’s decision to ban the process of drilling into the earth to release shale gases influenced England’s decision to do the same in 2019.
In his column, he blamed the “Green lobby” for the UK Government’s decisions to “shut down coal power stations without creating adequate affordable alternatives” despite the “vast coal reserves in the UK”.
He added that “we can now see that it was premature to ban fracking in England in 2019”.
“As a result of an idiotic devolution settlement, the Scottish and Welsh administrations had previously vetoed fracking,” he said.
“We were wrong to follow suit without properly weighing the arguments.”
The powers to license fracking were transferred to Wales in 2018. But when it was done so the UK Government Cabinet Secretary set out their preferred policy was the Welsh Government would not support any applications for fracking.
However, the Welsh Government had already in 2016 directed planning authorities to refer any fracking applications to Welsh Ministers where local planning authorities were minded to approve them. There were concerns at the time however that the Welsh Government did not have the power to block fracking.
In 2017 the Scottish government said an existing moratorium on the technique, which has been in place since 2015, should continue “indefinitely”.
There are concerns that fracking could pollute water or the ground from operations on the surface and release methane, a greenhouse gas, and other pollutants to air.
Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business and Energy Secretary, is this week however expected to write to the British Geological Survey to request a three-month review of the evidence relating to fracking.
This review is likely to be mentioned in this week’s energy security strategy, to be published on Thursday, but the document is expected to emphasise nuclear power and offshore wind farms as the UK Government’s preferred source of energy in the future.
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