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Government to Allow Fracking under National Parks

February 13, 2015
Environmental Protection

Despite originally pledging to ban fracking within or under protected areas, the government have amended the requirements of the Infrastructure Bill to allow fracking beneath Britain’s National Parks.

While the ban on drilling within park boundaries will stand, exploration can now occur horizontally from outside park boundaries. Fracking typically involves drilling down for up to a mile and then horizontally for potentially another mile and a half.

Energy Minister Amber Rudd explained that the changes were made for practical reasons; “There is a strong case that sites such as World Heritage sites and the Norfolk Broads should be protected from fracking taking place under them. In other cases, that would not be so sensible,” she said. “For example, in the case of areas of outstanding natural beauty and national parks, given their size and dispersion, it might not be practical to guarantee that fracking will not take place under them in all cases without unduly constraining the industry.”

The definition of “protected areas” under the proposed legislation has been deferred, leaving campaigners concerned that most of the countries groundwater Source Protection Zones may be left exposed.

MP’s also agreed to drop requirements for gas leaks other than methane to be recorded and the necessity to notify residents individually about shale gas operations in their area.