The government’s hopes of opening fracking sites across the UK have been dealt a blow as the European Commission is looking to bring in environmental legislation aimed at regulating pollution risks.
The Conservatives are worried the move could seriously delay plans and affect the fracking industry’s prospects in the UK. Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has responded by organising a number of meetings in Brussels to try and persuade other nations to back the UK.
‘We are prepared to take all the risks and all the flack about fracking’
A government source told the Telegraph: “It looks like the Commission is moving towards a framework directive, which is bad news. We wanted guidance but it looks as though they are moving against us. This is being pushed by the member states who don’t want fracking at all.
“We are prepared to take all the risks and all the flack about fracking. The other member states ought to let us do all that and then see what they need to do in terms of legislation. We would be at our own risk.”
A controversial extraction process
Fracking as long been controversial and recent exploratory drilling carried out by Cuadrilla in West Sussex, resulted in large protests being held close to the drilling site. Protestors are concerned about the effect fracking could have on the environment. Water contamination is a particular concern.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, has been employed in the USA and has driven down local energy prices, but is unlikely to do so in the UK. This is because, unlike the USA, Britain is part of an integrated European energy market and fracking in one country would lead to minor price decreases.