Scotland and Wales blocked fracking. Here’s how we can push England to follow

Posted by Richard Casson — 12 February 2015 at 1:24pm - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: Ciaran McCrickard / Greenpeace

Two weeks ago, Scotland was the first country within Britain to introduce a moratorium on fracking. Citing the need for further research and a full public consultation, the Scottish government put in place an open-ended ban. And then hot on the heels of Scotland, the Welsh government announced it will freeze fracking too.

These were two great results. And though much work must be done to turn the temporary Welsh and Scottish bans into permanent ones, it was a huge leap forward.

But what about England?

Sadly it's a different story here. Yesterday MPs approved the Infrastructure Bill -- a piece of legislation that we've been campaigning against for a while now. The Bill clears the path for fracking firms to drill under our homes, even when we don’t want them to.

This news is bad enough as it is. But crucially, at the 11th hour, the Bill was severely weakened by the House of Lords. Key sections were changed meaning that important regulations on the fracking industry (rules that had been put forward by the Labour Party in recent weeks) now won’t be put into place.

What this means is that national parks and water sources won’t be fully protected from fracking. So while Scotland and Wales have raised clear concerns about the health and environmental impact of fracking, in England it’s full steam ahead with the dash to drill for shale gas and oil.

We know that David Cameron wants to go all out for shale gas, but the Labour Party is far from decided. The Party backed moratoriums in Scotland and Wales. Lots of Labour MPs have raised their concerns about the impact fracking could have in their constituencies. And Labour MP Tom Greatrex (who’s also the shadow minister for energy) has made it clear that Labour wouldn’t allow fracking to happen until strong safety measures are in place. Speaking in Westminster the other week he said Labour’s proposed regulatory conditions were “all or nothing” and that fracking "should be stopped until all those conditions are met."

As leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband can rally his MPs to follow the Scottish and Welsh moratoriums. We’ve prepared some example tweets below, so click the links to send your message (we’ve copied in Tom Greatrex too, to remind him to stick to his guns about banning fracking now that the regulations have been watered down).

Hi @Ed_Miliband @tomgreatrexmp Now Scotland & Wales have blocked fracking, will Labour push for moratorium across rest of Britain?
Click to tweet this

Hi @Ed_Miliband @tomgreatrexmp, “all or nothing” amendments in Infrastructure Bill didn't pass, so will u now fight for fracking moratorium?
Click to tweet this

Hi @Ed_Miliband @tomgreatrexmp. @UKHouseofLords watered-down fracking regulations, so will you now call for fracking freeze?
Click to tweet this

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