North and East Yorkshire vulnerable to fracking under new Government plan
Vast areas of Yorkshire could see fracking exploration and drilling granted following the Government’s announcement to lift the moratorium in a bid to boost domestic energy supply.
Over 70% of the land in East Yorkshire is covered by exploration licenses held by fracking companies alongside large swathes of Heritage Coastline and North Yorkshire – including parts of the North York Moors National Park and the historic City of York.
As of this morning, the go-ahead for fracking companies to start the process of exploratory drilling was green-lighted by Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg. With multiple licenses currently in place across the whole of Yorkshire, the reality of fracking returning to God’s own country is massive cause for concern.
This major U-turn in government policy is unwelcome in many communities across the country, with Yorkshire being a key focal point for fracking alongside Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Surrey.
In a speech to the House of Commons on 8 September, Liz Truss claimed lifting the moratorium “could get gas flowing in as soon as six months, where there is local support.”
Environmental charities like CPRENEY warn that lifting the moratorium will not provide immediate short-term relief to energy costs but instead further entrench our reliance on expensive fossil fuels.
Atkinson comments how Truss’ claim is wildly unrealistic “it takes years for an operator to have received all the environmental permits and planning permission required for exploratory drilling to occur – which generally lasts 2-5years, then the whole process generally starts again for the production stage – even Francis Egan the CEO of Cuadrilla (whose fracking caused seismic events at Blackpool in 2019) agrees to that when he stated that fracking is not the answer to the current energy crisis.”
A British Geological Survey report commissioned by Government, concluded that it has a limited ability to evaluate and mitigate risks of seismic activity caused by fracking and that fracking in the UK would still be ‘challenging’ and would ‘carry risks’. However, in his statement published 22nd September 2022, announcing the policy change, Rees-Mogg said “tolerating a higher degree of risk and disturbance appears to us to be in the national interest.”
CPRENEY has long campaigned to raise awareness of the environmental and societal impacts of fracking. The charity recognises how lifting the ban could see an increased risk of earthquakes, an acceleration in CO2 and methane emissions, and the potential for groundwater contamination as well as large scale detrimental impacts to landscape and infrastructure networks. Instead, charities like Friends of the Earth and CPRE are calling for a nation-wide home insulation drive and investment into cheap, clean renewable energy sources. They warn such a knee-jerk reaction to the energy crisis will see no immediate short-term results but long-term damage to our communities and our countryside.