UK

Fracking In National Parks Approved By MPs, Labour Calls For Moratorium On Process

16/12/2015 20:08 GMT | Updated 16/12/2015 20:59 GMT

MPs have approved proposals to allow fracking under national parks and other protected areas, prompting Labour to call for a moratorium on the controversial process.

The move to allow fracking to extract shale gas three-quarters of a mile (1,200m) below national parks, world heritage sites, the Broads and areas of outstanding natural beauty was passed by a majority of 37 in a vote on Wednesday.

Shadow energy and climate secretary Lisa Nandy accused the Government of sneaking the rules through without proper parliamentary debate, labelling it "frankly shabby", The Press Association reports.

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"Ministers had previously conceded that there should be the tougher safeguards that Labour has been calling for to protect drinking water sources and sensitive parts of our countryside like national parks. Now they've abandoned those promises.

"We should have a moratorium on fracking in Britain until we can be sure it is safe and won't present intolerable risks to our environment.

"Neither MPs or the public have received these assurances yet ministers are ignoring people's legitimate concerns and imposing fracking on communities," she said.

Rose Dickinson, energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said the new rules, which also allow fracking in certain groundwater areas, put drinking water and national parks at risk from fracking.

She said: "People will rightly be concerned that the Government is not following through on its commitment to have strong regulation on fracking.

"It is time for us to follow in the footsteps of Scotland and Wales by halting all plans for fracking, which is completely incompatible with tackling climate change and the agreement reached in Paris."

The environmental group said it was campaigning for a full ban on fracking because 80% of fossil fuels have to remain in the ground to avoid dangerous climate change.

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