FRACKING In national parks will be fully banned after the Government announced a last minute policy change before key vote.
Energy minister Amber Rudd has told MPs the Government will be “effectively removing” the condition of allowing shale gas exploration in the areas in exceptional circumstances, in an apparent concession to MPs minded to back a call for a temporary .
Labour and other MPs have tabled amendments to make this change at report stage of the Infrastructure Bill.
Speaking in the Commons, Liberal Democrat former minister Norman Baker asked Ms Rudd: “Do you accept that 18% of the UK’s sites of special scientific interest, 13% of the special areas of conservation and 40% of special protection areas, are covered by the 14th licensing round area?”
Ms Rudd replied: “Can I just add to my earlier comment that we have agreed an outright ban on fracking in national parks, sites of special interest and areas of national beauty.
“I hope that will reassure you about the liability potential for any of the areas that I know that you are particularly keen to protect.”
Conservative Anne McIntosh (Thirsk and Malton) added to Ms Rudd: “Could you just complete the sentence - are you saying that now there will be an outright ban on any fracking in national parks and has the Government removed the words ‘accept in exceptional circumstances’?”
Ms Rudd replied: “You are absolutely right. That is exactly what we have now done.
“We have now put in place an outright ban and will be effectively removing those sentences.”