Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

UK Government Says Never Mind What People Want, Let's Frack

Energy
UK Government Says Never Mind What People Want, Let's Frack

Following a nearly three-month public comment period in which more than 90 percent of the comments were opposed, the UK government announced it will go ahead with a plan to allow fracking beneath homes without the owners' permission. Current rules allow homeowners to block shale gas projects. The government says the legal process to force them to allow them so is too time-consuming and expensive.

Despite widespread opposition, the UK government has moved ahead with its plans to remove obstacles to fracking.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

The Guardian of London reported that of the 40, 647 responses received, 99 percent opposed the plan. Removing 28,821 responses submitted by two environmental group campaigns, 92 percent opposed it.

"The majority of respondents included campaign text opposing hydraulic fracturing and/or the proposed change to underground access legislation and did not specifically address the questions to the consultation," the government website said. "We acknowledge the large number of responses against the proposal and the fact that the proposal has provided an opportunity for the public to voice their concerns and raise issues. However the role of the consultation was to seek arguments and evidence to consider in developing the proposed policy. Whilst a wide range of arguments were raised and points covered, we did not identify any issues that persuaded us to change the basic form of the proposals."

So they didn't.

A statement from the government yesterday titled "Government to remove barriers to onshore oil and gas and deep geothermal exploration" touted the country's investment in renewables before saying, "We know that our journey towards a low carbon future will take time and that emerging energy industries often need government support to get going. That’s why, alongside a further £40 billion of renewable investment running into 2020, we are exploring for shale gas. As the cleanest fossil fuel, gas provides a bridge to much greener future, and geothermal energy can supply renewable heat to our homes and businesses."

“Exploring the natural energy resources beneath our feet, within a robust regulatory framework, is important for our national energy security and helps create jobs," said Business and Energy Minister Matt Hancock." These new rules will help Britain to explore the great potential of our national shale gas and geothermal resources, as we work towards a greener future—and open up thousands of new jobs in doing so.”

The Guardian reported, "New laws will now be passed giving automatic access for gas and oil development below 300m and a notification and compensation scheme will be run by the industry on a voluntary basis."

Industry trade group UK Onshore Oil & Gas hailed the decision, saying, "This amendment will help pave the way for the UK to develop natural gas from shale for the benefit of households and businesses across the country. The current system involves significant potential delays and costs without benefit either to the oil and gas industry or the landowner" and promising "“The onshore oil and gas industry is committed to working with local communities and operates within a regulatory system considered one of the best in the world. We have also brought forward proposals to share the benefits of shale gas exploration with local communities.”

Needless to say, environmental groups disagreed.

“With 99 percent of the respondents opposing the government’s plans to allow fracking under people’s homes without their permission, it is clear that this was a sham consultation," said Jane Thomas, senior campaigner at Friends of the Earth, one of the groups organizing the opposition campaign. “This government seems hellbent on fracking irrespective of widespread opposition. You’d think with a general election approaching politicians would listen to public opinion and get behind the popular energy solutions of cutting waste and backing renewables."

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing also spoke out in opposition to the new regulations.

"UK government proposals to remove the right of Scottish householders to object to drilling under their homes, without so much as debate in the Scottish Parliament, flies in the face of Scotland's cautious, considered and evidence based approach on this issue. It is also fundamentally an issue affecting land ownership rights," he said.

In January, the UK government eliminated a requirement that energy companies inform individual homeowners of future fracking operations under their homes, also in the face overwhelming public opposition.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

1,000 March at Largest Fracking Protest in UK History

Sir Paul McCartney Leads Celebrity Call for Fracking Ban in the UK

Deceptive Fracking Claims Found Unacceptable by UK Ad Board

54% of parents with school-age children expressed concern that their children could fall behind academically, according to a poll conducted over the summer of 2020. Maria Symchych-Navrotska / Getty Images

By Pamela Davis-Kean

With in-person instruction becoming the exception rather than the norm, 54% of parents with school-age children expressed concern that their children could fall behind academically, according to a poll conducted over the summer of 2020. Initial projections from the Northwest Evaluation Association, which conducts research and creates commonly used standardized tests, suggest that these fears are well-grounded, especially for children from low-income families.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A teenager reads a school English assignment at home after her school shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 22, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York. Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis via Getty Images

The pandemic has affected everyone, but mental health experts warn that youth and teens are suffering disproportionately and that depression and suicide rates are increasing.

Read More Show Less

Trending

In an ad released by Republican Voters Against Trump, former coronavirus task force member Olivia Troye roasted the president for his response. Republican Voters Against Trump / YouTube

Yet another former Trump administration staffer has come out with an endorsement for former Vice President Joe Biden, this time in response to President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Climate Group

Every September for the past 11 years, non-profit the Climate Group has hosted Climate Week NYC, a chance for business, government, activist and community leaders to come together and discuss solutions to the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
A field of sunflowers near the Mehrum coal-fired power station, wind turbines and high-voltage lines in the Peine district of Germany on Aug. 3, 2020. Julian Stratenschulte / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Elliot Douglas

The coronavirus pandemic has altered economic priorities for governments around the world. But as wildfires tear up the west coast of the United States and Europe reels after one of its hottest summers on record, tackling climate change remains at the forefront of economic policy.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch