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Rees-Mogg indicates Welsh ban will not be affected by plans to resume fracking in England

22 Sep 2022 3 minute read
Welsh anti-fracking protesters in 2014. Photo by Vertigogen is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

The UK Government’s Business and Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg has indicated the ban on fracking in Wales will not be affected by the lifting of the ban in England, which was confirmed earlier today.

Mr Rees-Mogg said the impact of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine means securing domestic energy supplies is vital as he defended lifting the moratorium in England, which has been in place since 2019 after a series of tremors caused by the process.

He also suggested current limits on acceptable levels of seismic activity are too restrictive and said the his government is determined to “realise any potential sources of domestic gas”.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said earlier this month that the Welsh Government would not consider lifting the moratorium on fracking in Wales which has been in place since 2015.

Dangerous

Responding to this morning’s announcement in the House of Commons, Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams MP asked for assurances that ministers would not seek to reverse the Welsh ban

“In Wales, we know the cost of dangerous fossil fuel extraction so that others, remotely, can profit,” he said.

“It’s particularly acute today, the date of the Gresford mining disaster, where 266 men and boys were killed. 200 women were widowed. 800 children were left fatherless.

“The coal mine, owned by the Westminster and United Group, subsequently destroyed the safety records.

“Mr Speaker, Gresford was mooted as a fracking site. And there in the pit the men remain, 2,000 feet underground. Only 11 bodies were recovered, but it was mooted as a fracking site.

“So will the Secretary of State confirm that licencing powers on fracking remain with our Senedd, and that he has no intention of trying to return those powers to Westminster?”

“Mr Speaker, I am not seeking to upset the devolution settlement,” Mr Rees-Mogg responded.

Licensing powers

Licensing powers over fracking were transferred to Wales in 2018, and at COP26 the Welsh Government signed up to the Beyond Oil & Gas Alliance to reject fracking or any new hydrocarbon developments.

However, the-then Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, Greg Hands, hinted in March that the UK Government may not respect the Welsh Government’s opinion on the matter if the ban on fracking was lifted.

Fracking is the process of hydraulic fracturing, which uses high-pressure liquid to release gas from shale formations.

The 2019 Conservative manifesto pledged not to lift England’s moratorium unless “the science shows categorically it can be done safely”.

A Government-commissioned report by the British Geological Survey (BGS) was inconclusive, saying more data was needed, but despite the lack of scientific progress, Liz Truss’s administration has torn up the manifesto commitment.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said lifting the ban in England means future applications will be considered “where there is local support”.

Developers will need to have the necessary licences, permissions and consents in place before they can commence operations.


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I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
4 days ago

Phew. Thank heaven for that.

hdavies15
hdavies15
4 days ago
Reply to  I.Humphrys

Give them time and our soppy lot will invite some “exploratory activity”. How that would square with their green stance remains to be seen.

The original mark
The original mark
4 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Not sure why your comment has been marked down, this is exactly what will happen.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
4 days ago

We need to be on our guard. The tory Governement in London is no respector of any agreement that it has ‘solemnly’ signed if it sees the opportunity for its suporters to profit. At the very least we need to block proposed sites and buoycott any firms who supply fracking enterprises in Wales.

hdavies15
hdavies15
4 days ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

I seem to recall reports from a few years ago indicating that Wales in general did not have a very promising “fracking profile” while some densely populated parts of England would be very productive fracking fields. That should bring old Disgruntled from Tunbridge Wells out in a rash! My money is on fracking being quietly left alone and more wind turbines for good old Wales.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
4 days ago

You can bet your house on the corrupt Tories interferring with Welsh law if ever a large shale gas deposit was discovered in Wales. At present their main focus in on Northern England where there are known deposits of gas. It’s not if but when. When England sniffs an opportunity they will move mountains and flood valleys, literally. Just look at their recent extraction & networking of Welsh water even though Wales has partial water powers and is suffering drought conditions. See, what England wants it takes from Wales. No consultation just exploitation. The Conservatives have zero respect Wales or… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
4 days ago

It comes to something, when a political party, that has never been elected to a position of power in this country, ” indicates ” it may respect the wishes of the electorate of Cymru and the manifesto pledge of the elected government of the day. Some democracy we live in, ehh.

The original mark
The original mark
4 days ago

As the uk only imported a very small amount of gas from Russia, I don’t see why there’s such a rush on going down the fracking option, unless of course the tories as a party or individuals stand to make a lot of money out of it and to hell with the consequences? It always is party before country with these parasites.

Maglocunos
Maglocunos
4 days ago

It couldn’t be that they lied to us, could it!?

The original mark
The original mark
4 days ago
Reply to  Maglocunos

Politicians lying, no never.

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