British U-turn on Protected Areas Ignite Shale-Skeptics’ Resentment
The British government proposed to change the rules for hydraulic fracturing in protected areas, in a U-turn that would pave the way to unconventional drilling in national parks and UNESCO sites. The previous outright ban would be then turned into a substantial green light, coupled with some additional conditions with respect to conventional drilling.
‘The draft regulations set out further protections for groundwater and National Parks, Areas of Outstanding National Beauty, the Broads and World Heritage Sites, ensuring the process of hydraulic fracturing can only take place below 1200 metres in these areas. Drinking water is not normally found below 400m’ the Department of Energy & Climate Change wrote on Thursday.
The British government reiterated that the UK has a great experience and one of the best track records in the world when it comes down to protecting the environment.
“This industry will be developed safely with world class environmental protections, creating jobs and delivering better energy security while safeguarding of some of our most precious landscapes” Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom commented.
Her declarations found the strong opposition of environmentalists.
“It is outrageous that the Government has given the green light to fracking under national parks and appears to be doing nothing to stop fracking in drinking water protection areas. This comes just after the Government’s own report found that even indirect exposure to contaminated drinking water can pose serious risks to health” Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Rose Dickinson commented.
Friends of the Earth also underlined how fracking has been halted in Scotland and Wales, while Lancashire rejected two proposals.The organisation argued that the population is against shale gas.
“It's clear that there is overwhelming opposition wherever fracking is proposed” Dickson added.