Yorkshire MP calls for end to fracking exploratory work after Government ban

A Yorkshire MP has called for preparatory work for fracking in his constituency to be stopped after the Government put in place a moratorium on the practice last year.

The Government ended its support for fracking - a drilling technique used for extracting oil or natural gas from deep underground - in November after new scientific analysis showed it was not possible to rule out earthquakes were caused by the activity.

But Rother Valley Tory MP Alexander Stafford said that despite the ban on fracking itself, the preparatory and exploratory work surrounding the sites in his area - in Woodsetts and Harthill - had continued.

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And while this was allowed, as the same kind of work could be used for other means, he said there was little point in causing the disruption to residents.

Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford. Photo: JPI Media

Mr Stafford said: “If fracking is banned - and it is essentially a ban - we want to make sure residents are not adversely affected [by exploration work].”

Speaking last year, then Business and Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom said:” Whilst acknowledging the huge potential of UK shale gas to provide a bridge to a zero carbon future, I’ve also always been clear that shale gas exploration must be carried out safely. In the UK, we have been led by the best available scientific evidence, and closely regulated by the Oil and Gas Authority, one of the best regulators in the world.

“After reviewing the OGA’s report into recent seismic activity at Preston New Road, it is clear that we cannot rule out future unacceptable impacts on the local community.

“For this reason, I have concluded that we should put a moratorium on fracking in England with immediate effect.”

And Mr Stafford added today: “My opinion is the Government has no plans to lift the moratorium so I want to send a clear message to the companies and the council, there is no point agreeing to this because fracking is not going ahead, because all we are going to do is cause disruption for nothing.

“This is a clear message to all parties, there is no point doing anything.”

Mr Stafford said it was up to the council to approve traffic management plans, but that this was now a futile point.

And in a debate secured in Parliament tonight, he will attempt to gain more detail.

He said: “I am incredibly pleased to have secured this important Parliamentary debate and deliver on my election pledge to do so.

“I hope to put forward our case that fracking should not be taking place in our beautiful Rother Valley community, and that we must protect the ancient villages of Woodsetts and Harthill.”