Rishi Sunak is going back on Liz Truss’s controversial decision to lift the ban on fracking in England. He is putting the ban back in place.
A local politician was worried about how getting shale gas would affect communities on the border of north-east Wales. This move will calm those fears.
During Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Questions, the new prime minister said that he stands “by the manifesto” when it comes to fracking.
Because environmentalists and local communities were against it, the 2019 Conservative manifesto put a stop to fracking in England.
Last month, when England’s then-prime minister, Liz Truss, said that fracking would start up again, Wales’ first minister, Mark Drakeford, said that Wales would not do the same.
Alyn and Deeside MS Jack Sargeant said that the move to England would have “serious consequences for our community.”
He said that border towns in Wales could be “hugely affected” if sites in Cheshire already chosen for shale gas extraction are given the go-ahead.
Carl Sargeant, who has since died, put a stop to fracking in Wales when he was in charge of the country’s natural resources.
The moratorium made it so that no local planning authority in Wales could approve fracking plans.
The Welsh Government put in place a “Notification Direction” so that local governments can’t approve planning applications for unconventional oil and gas, like fracking, without the approval of Welsh Ministers.
In 2018, Westminster gave Cardiff the power to give licences for fracking.
During Prime Minister’s Questions today, Green MP Caroline Lucas asked Mr. Sunak if he would “reverse the green light she gave to fracking, since it has definitely not been shown to be safe, and instead keep the moratorium in that very manifesto that he has promised to uphold?”
He said, “I’ve already said I stand by the manifesto on that,” which didn’t sound like an announcement that he would put the ban back in place.
“But I would say that I’m proud that this government passed the landmark Environment Act, which gives the natural environment more protection than ever before and a clear plan for how to do it.
“I can promise the honourable lady that we will meet all of our goals and do what we said we would do at COP, because we care very much about leaving our children with a better environment than we found it in.”
Wales isn’t the only place where there is a ban on fracking. Scotland and Northern Ireland also have these bans.