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The Conservatives plan to develop the shale industry in Britain, but only if “rigorous” environmental protections are upheld. Image: Jay Allen

Conservative manifesto: Energy efficiency focus, oil and gas support and 'fracking revolution'

The Conservatives have pledged to maintain the UK’s climate change commitments through enhanced clean technology and energy efficiency funding, but the Party's manifesto also proposes continued support for the North Sea oil and gas industry and an additional focus on fracking.

Brexit negotiations, President-elect Donald Trump, air pollution laws and marine protection regulations are among the key developments to look out for this year

What will be the big environment events in 2017?

From air pollution to Trump and wildlife extinction, we look at the major environmental issues for the year ahead.

It was the first application for fracking in the UK to be given council approval since a ban was lifted in 2012

North Yorkshire fracking approved by High Court ruling

Fracking in North Yorkshire will go ahead after a legal challenge by green campaigners was dismissed by a High Court ruling, in the same week that President Obama permanently banned new oil and gas drilling in most US-owned waters in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.

The tracker revealed a record high of 71% of people supporting onshore wind, up from the previous high of 70% in 2014

Public support for renewables rises as nuclear and fracking falls

Public backing for nuclear energy and fracking has fallen in recent months while support for clean energy continues to surge, according to the latest opinion tracker from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Javid deferred a decision on the second site, at Roseacre Wood, to give Cuadrilla more time to provide evidence on road traffic issues

Fracking in UK given go-ahead as Lancashire council rejection overturned

Communities secretary, Sajid Javid has overturned Lancashire county council's rejection of a fracking site, paving the way for shale company Cuadrilla to drill in the county next year and drawing outrage from local groups, environmentalists and politicians.

The Government’s plans to give households cash payments have been criticised by environmental groups as a bribe to diminish community hostility to the technology

New shale consultation deepens fracking controversy

Payments for communities near fracking wells will not be circulated until a new well site begins operating and producing gas, the Government has confirmed in a consultation published on the shale wealth fund.

Anti-fracking campaigners may seek a judicial review if they do not get a satisfactory response from the council

Campaigners threaten legal action over fracking decision

Campaigners have written to North Yorkshire County Council, threatening to take legal action over its decision to approve Third Energy's plans for fracking near the village of Kirby Misperton.

Anti-fracking protesters gathered outside North Yorkshire County Council earlier today. Photo: Friends of the Earth UK

Landmark North Yorkshire fracking approval leaves green groups up in arms

Shale development company Third Energy has been given the go-ahead by North Yorkshire County Council to hydraulically fracture an existing well near the village of Kirby Misperton - a decision labelled as "bitterly disappointing" and "an absolute travesty" by campaign groups and environmentalists.

Rudd warned that a potential Brexit would hit working people through higher energy costs and job losses

Brexit would cause 'electric shock' for energy costs, warns Amber Rudd

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has today (24 March) warned that leaving the European Union would see energy costs 'rocket' by £500m as well as depleting investor confidence.

The DECC survey introduced questions about fracking opposition for the first time

DECC survey: The more people know about fracking, the less they support it

The more people know about fracking, the less they support it, new Government research has found.

It is ‘almost impossible’ for UK electricity demand to be met by 2025, engineers say

Engineers warn of looming UK energy gap

The UK is facing an unprecedented "energy gap" in a decade's time, according to engineers, with demand for electricity likely to outstrip supply by more than 40%, which could lead to black outs .

MPs have voted to allow fracking for shale gas 1,200m below national parks and other protected sites

MPs vote to approve fracking under national parks

MPs have voted by 298 to 261 to allow fracking to take place under national parks, despite the government previously pledging an outright ban on fracking in protected areas.

The UK is moving backwards on renewables while accelerating on fracking, says Lord Chris Smith

UK is going into reverse on clean energy, says former Environment Agency head

The UK is going into reverse on renewable energy while pressing the accelerator on fracking, according to former Environment Agency chairman Lord Chris Smith.

The coal announcement makes the UK the first major economy to set a clear date to phase out coal.

Rudd's 'reset' speech: 12 things you need to know...

Amber Rudd has delivered an historic speech today (18 November), laying out a new direction for UK energy policy - including a target end-date for coal generation, plans for more gas-fired power plants and potential subsidy auctions for offshore wind.

The report points out that 88% of the studies on air quality around fracking sites have shown increased levels of on-site air pollutants

Report: EU fracking guidelines fail to protect environment & citizens

Non-binding EU guidelines on shale gas exploration are "weak" and fail to protect the environment and health of citizens, a new report has claimed today (8 October).

The poll revealed that 78% would support local projects within two miles of their home

UK poll reveals 'overwhelming' public support for community renewables

More than three quarters of UK households would support renewable energy projects such as wind turbines and solar farms if the profits generated benefitted the local community, a poll has found.

Protesters from Don't Frack Lancashire. Photo: Friends of the Earth

Government could push through fracking applications if councils delay

Fracking planing applications that are being held up by local councils could be fast-tracked by Government, following new measures announced today by Energy Secretary Amber Rudd and Communities Secretary Greg Clark.

In her column, Rudd claimed shale could create 60,000 new jobs in the UK and generate billions of pounds for the economy

Rudd warns councils to speed up fracking decisions

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd has announced the Government will be writing to local councils to urge them to speed up planning decisions on fracking.

Jeremy Corbyn's ambitious environmental strategy comes after a number of cuts to renewable energy

Labour frontrunner launches ambitious environmental manifesto

Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn has announced a far-reaching green vision for his environmental policy in an announcement today (7 August).

Just 21% of 2,118 UK households supported fracking

One fifth of Brits back fracking, Government survey reveals

Public support for fracking has dropped to an all-time low, as new Government figures show a clear link between education about fracking and opposition to the technology.

The appeal by Cuadrilla was widely expected after the rejection by Lancashire county council

Cuadrilla to appeal against fracking refusal by Lancashire county council

Lancashire county council faces an appeal by a leading UK shale gas company after refusing its applications to frack for shale gas in the county.

The Task Force calls for greater regulation but also for easing of planning regulations to allow onsite monitoring

'Rigorous regulation' needed to make fracking safe, says Task Force

The Task Force on Shale Gas has called on the Government to allow the drilling of boreholes without full planning consent, in a report released today (15 July).

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Fracking could hurt house prices, health and environment, official report says

Fracking operations to extract shale gas in Britain could cause nearby house prices to fall by up to 7% and create a risk of environmental damage, according to a government report that has been published in full for the first time.

Lancashire council has turned down the first of two applications for fracking by Cuadrilla

First Cuadrilla fracking bid rejected by Lancashire council

Lancashire County Council has turned down Cuardrilla's planning application for fracking at Roseacre Wood.

Gas power plants produce around 500kg of emissions per MWh of electricity – compared to 750kg/MWh for coal power plants

Natural gas 'very risky' to clean up energy supply

Natural gas does should not be considered an 'easy bridge' between coal power and renewable energy, the New Climate Economy (NCE) has warned.

The Conservative manifesto claims the party has stayed true to it promise to be the 'greenest government ever'

Conservative manifesto: "We have been the greenest government ever"

Prime Minister David Cameron outlined the Conservative party's election pledges in a manifesto document which was immediately slammed by green groups as "anti-green growth" and "a recipe for higher energy bills".

Fracking opponents argue that high-pressure fracturing of rocks to release gas risks health and environmental impacts and will undermine the country's climate change goals

Doctors diagnose 'serious health risks' of fracking

Doctors and other health professionals have added their weight to the campaign for an immediate moratorium on fracking in the UK as a new report from health charity Medact warns that exploratory drilling for shale gas poses a serious risk to public health.

Chris Smith chairs the taskforce on shale gas, an independent group funded by fracking companies to examine how shale gas exploration should be overseen in the UK

Lord Smith 'hugely sceptical' of fracking for shale oil in the UK

The former chief of the Environment Agency is "hugely sceptical" on the prospects of fracking for shale oil in the UK, saying it is far from clear that the process should be used to extract quantities of oil from downlands in the south-east of England.

What sustainability professionals want from George Osbrone and what they get, could be two very different things

Budget 2015: 10 hopes for energy & environment

Elections are not won on environmental policy. That is the accepted wisdom. But sustainability professionals are, by their nature, an optimistic bunch, and have been vocal in laying out their demands for Wednesday's budget - the last of the current Parliament.

Tim Yeo says people who think fracking is an environmental problem are mistaken

Shale gas should be at centre of next government's energy policy - Tim Yeo

Shale gas exploration can be environmentally sound, and should be the centrepiece of the next government's energy policy, the Conservative's most senior green-leaning MP has urged.

South Downs National Park. Horizontal drilling for shale gas will now be allowed if the well pad is outside of the park

Fracking will be allowed under national parks, MPs decide

Fracking companies will be allowed to drill horizontally under national parks and other protected areas if the wells start just outside their boundaries, after the government rowed back on its earlier acceptance of new environmental protections.

Guardian data analysis has revealed that 39.7% of England would be affected by the new bans

Fracking set to be banned from 40% of England's shale areas

Fracking is set to be banned on two-fifths of the land in England being offered for shale gas exploration by the government, according to a Guardian analysis.

The announcement was welcomed by campaigners as

Scotland announces moratorium on fracking for shale gas

The Scottish government has announced a moratorium on all planning consents for unconventional oil and gas extraction, including fracking.

The focus of the debate will now switch to Cuadrilla and Lancashire County Council

Infrastructure Bill: What it means and what they said

The recent debate and vote on the Infrastructure Bill - the first such vote for MPs on fracking - had major ramifications for the environment and the UK energy mix.

An anti-fracking protest outside parliament on Monday. The Tories were forced into a U-turn on fast-track fracking

Fracking u-turn: Banned in national parks, moratorium rejected

Fracking for shale gas will NOT be fast-tracked in the UK after the Government accepted Labour proposals close a number of environmental loopholes in a spectacular last-minute u-turn.

A 267,933-strong petition urging the Prime Minister to reconsider his 'all-out' support for fracking was handed in to Downing Street. Photo: Dalziel/Greenpeace

Fracking fracas: Campaigners and MPs urge Cameron to reconsider

A mass anti-fracking petition has been delivered to Downing Street and a new survey revealing the widespread condemnation of the Government's 'all-out' support for shale has been released, ahead of the first Commons vote on fracking legislation.

Renewables create over six times as many jobs as gas per unit of power generated or saved, and around three times as many jobs per pound of investment

Fracking job claims hugely exaggerated, says Friends of the Earth

Renewable energy generates six times as many jobs as gas, says a new Friends of the Earth (FoE) report which rubbishes claims from shale-exploration firm Cuadrilla that each fracking wellpad will support 1,100 jobs.

The push to exploit shale gas in the UK has received strong backing from David Cameron and George Osborne

UK's shale gas revolution falls flat with just 11 new wells planned for 2015

The UK government's planned shale gas revolution has barely got out of the starting blocks with just 11 new exploratory wells for shale gas and oil due to be drilled this year even before the impact of plunging oil prices has fully begun to impact on the industry.

The new funding seeks to curb the environmental impact of controversial fracking technology

Government commits to 'greener' fracking with £2m fund

The Government has unveiled a new £2m fund for 19 companies across the UK to develop innovative ideas that improve the sustainability and safety of shale oil and gas.

Labour proposed a ban on fracking near groundwater aquifers

Labour's proposed fracking restrictions welcomed by green groups

Friends of the Earth have welcomed a new Labour proposal to ban fracking near vital underground water stores.

Experts disagree about the potential impact of fracking on the water supply

Report: Businesses 'surprisingly relaxed' about water impacts of fracking

Key stakeholders in the use and procurement of shale gas appear unconcerned about the potential impacts of fracking on water pollution and water resources, according to a new report from a sustainability consultancy firm.

Chancellor George Osborne concluded his Autumn Statement by proclaiming the UK is now

Autumn statement 2014: What it means for green business

"Britain is back on course," proclaimed George Osborne earlier today, but environmental announcements were in short supply as the Chancellor delivered his final Autumn Statement before the General Election.

Scientists turn sawdust into renewable fuel

Belgian researchers have developed a new process allowing them to turn sawdust into the building blocks for gasoline.

Lord Chris Smith, former chair of the Environment Agency, is to lead a task force assessing the impacts of fracking in the UK

Former Environment Agency head to lead industry-funded fracking task force

The risks and benefits of fracking for the UK are to be examined by a "independent" task force, led by the former head of the Environment Agency, Lord Chris Smith, and funded by shale gas companies.

Owen Paterson proposed four sweeping changes to Britain's energy policy

Owen Paterson: Current energy policy 'a slave to flawed climate action'

Former Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has delivered another controversial speech, this time arguing that the UK's current energy policy is not reducing emissions and providing the power the country needs.

A working circular economy could be a practical solution to the planet's emerging resource problems

UK energy policy 'vital' to circular economy success, report argues

A new report which warns that current energy policies are stifling the UK's transition to a circular economy has been welcomed by the renewables industry, with calls for the Government to do more to realise the green potential of waste.

The UK is 'leading, not following, on climate change.'

Conservative Party Conference: Cameron ignores climate change

Despite highlighting climate change as one of the 'biggest challenges of this generation' at the Climate Summit last week, Cameron made no mention of the issue in his final conference speech before next year's general election today, other than to announce that the UK is 'leading, not following, on climate change.'

Demonstrators walk in the 'People's Climate March' in Paris, September 21, 2014

Record CO2 emissions 'committing world to dangerous climate change'

Global greenhouse gas emissions on course to reach record high of over 40bn tonnes in 2014, study in Nature Geoscience says.

Fracking uses large volumes of water for short periods of time and as such could have negative effects on water security

Global water availability 'could limit fracking developments'

A new report that looks into the potential environmental effects of fracking has revealed that drilling and fracturing shale gas wells poses a 'significant risk' to freshwater supplies across the globe.

The several hundred-strong "No Dash for Gas - Reclaim The Power" camp has positioned itself close to one of two planned drill sites by energy firm Cuadrilla and is expected to remain for six days. File photo

Protesters occupy field near Cuadrilla's proposed fracking site in Blackpool

Protest camp set up in Fylde area as locals and campaigning groups prepare for mass action on Sunday.

Is fracking for shale gas key for the UK's long term energy mix, or is it a recipe for environmental disaster?

Will shale gas ever find its place in today's broad energy mix?

Many decades ago, Albert Einstein said that 'Everything is Energy and Energy is everything". This claim is still very true as we look at the impact of energy as a source on our modern society today.

The new round of licencing opens up around half of the UK to shale gas exploration

Government opens bidding for fracking licences while 'protecting' National Parks

The government has today (July 28) opened the bidding process for companies seeking exploration licences to extract shale oil and gas using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The study reveals that fracking in the UK will pose a much lower risk to water supplies than it has in parts of North America

Study reveals fracking risk to drinking water

New underground maps from the British Geological Survey (BGS) and the Environment Agency (EA) have discovered that many shale gas deposits overlap with major water aquifers.

Shale gas and oil have become accessible in the last decade because of advances in the technology of fracking

Scotland shale gas and oil reserves 'modest' compared with England

Midland Valley of Scotland has up to 134.6 trillion cubic feet of shale gas below ground, according to British Geological Survey.

The Government has been accused of having 'an unjustified bias against the solar industry

Solar league table: Britain's top solar-powered constituencies revealed

Andrew Lansley is top of the class, Justine Greening is bottom, and Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey is lagging behind in a new 'league table' and interactive map of constituencies and solar power.

Europe is among the regions using more coal, with imports from the US topping up local production

Coal's share of energy market at highest level since 1970

Use of coal for power generation and other purposes grew by 3% in 2013 - faster than any other fossil fuel.

The announcements in the Queen's speech this morning leave the gate open to developers to offset less stringent energy efficiency measures in new homes. Image: IR Stone /

Queen's speech: win on plastic bags, lose on zero-carbon homes

Despite affirming "My ministers champion efforts to secure a global agreement on climate change", the final Queen's speech before the next general election was decidedly thin when it came to action on sustainability and the environment.

In the wake of the Ukraine crisis, energy experts are worried that this over-dependence on Russia could expose European business and citizens to threats from the Kremlin and higher prices

Shale and non-Russian gas imports at heart of new EU energy strategy

Ukraine crisis forces bloc to seek diverse sources of gas, but green groups complain ignoring renewables is a mistake.

The development followed a 'legal blockade' by the local landowners around the site

Energy company abandons South Downs fracking plans

Campaigners claim victory after Celtique Energy tells residents it will not drill horizontally under their land.

Shale gas is drilled out of rocks in a process known as 'fracking'

Shale gas review: Energy efficiency remains 'national priority', experts argue

The Government is being urged to remain focused on the task of moving the UK to an efficient and low-carbon energy system following the release of a new report from the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee about the potential of using more shale gas.

George Osborne announced a £7bn package to cut energy bills in today's Budget

Budget 2014: Osborne caps carbon tax as part of his 'Budget for a resilient economy'

The Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed a cap on the Carbon Price Floor at £18 per ton of CO2 from 2016-2017 to the end of the decade.

George Osborne wants climate change tackled as cheaply as possible

Chancellor calls on environmentalists to drop opposition to nuclear power and shale gas as they can be inexpensive

The Department for Energy and Climate Change has awarded three licences to Nebula Resources to begin fracking in the Irish Sea

'Fracking' for offshore shale gains traction with plans to drill Irish sea

The co-founder of shale gas firm Caudrilla is aiming to drill the world's first offshore shale gas wells.

Fracking opponents are being irrational, says David Cameron

Prime minister questioned by House of Commons liaison committee about shale gas, environment and women's issues

Fracking in the UK: 'We're going all out for shale,' admits Cameron

Environmentalists say prime minister's plan to grant councils 100% of business rates from fracking amounts to a bribe

Autumn Statement 2013: Going green does not have to cost the earth says Osborne

The Chancellor George Osborne skimmed over the rising energy bills debate in his Autumn Statement today and offered brief details on the Government's carbon and energy security plans.

Credit: Randi Sokoloff /

Safeguarding water supplies - a frack too far?

Water is the latest natural resource under threat from fracking and unless the risks are properly assessed, certain areas could face real shortfalls in supply. Maxine Perella reports

Energy producing giants at risk from increasing water scarcity

Water risks are on the rise for three global energy production hotspots - shale gas in the US, coal production and coal-fired power in China, and crude oil in the Middle East.

UKIP's Roger Helmer

UKIP hails shale gas and slams Gov's 'over reliance on renewables'

The Government's "obsessive reliance" on renewables is driving energy intensive businesses offshore, while pushing households and pensioners into fuel poverty, according to UKIP's Roger Helmer.

Dieter Helm: EMR will need full review to address issues

The Government's Energy Market Reform (EMR) is supposed to "solve our energy problems" but is it a solution for the next 25 years and is it going to make sure that we achieve our low-carbon transition, keep the lights on and ensure prices are affordable? Leigh Stringer talks to professor of energy policy at Oxford University Dieter Helm

Ed Davey (pictured) said that

Ed Davey: Britain can't bank on shale gas to solve energy challenges

Ed Davey has backed the exploration of shale gas but expressed caution, claiming it will not "come close to solving even our basic energy resource security challenge".

David Cameron says without fracking technology, the UK could

David Cameron: 'Back fracking or miss opportunities'

Prime Minister David Cameron has today urged the UK to back the controversial practice of 'fracking' or risk missing out on the opportunities associated with shale gas.

Shale gas well

Shale gas industry told water quality 'cannot be compromised'

Water companies have called on the shale gas industry to ensure that water quality in the UK is protected "at all costs".

Lush Cosmetics fights fracking as Government cuts shale gas tax

UK company Lush Cosmetics has begun an anti-fracking campaign as the Government announces tax breaks to companies involved in the UK's shale gas industry.

Credit: mistydawnphoto /

Obama's climate change action plan could swing in favour of UK

US President Barack Obama's recent pledge on climate action could create a ripple effect in the UK, placing strong pressure on the Government to reinstate its 'greenest ever' commitments.

Ed Balls - image courtesy of Jack Siddons

Ed Balls: George Osborne is scaring away long-term green investment

Ed Balls has slammed the Coalition Government for restricting growth in the green industry by its failure to agree a decarbonisation target in the Energy Bill and "shackling" the Green Investment Bank.

UK shale gas resources far greater than previously expected

UK shale gas resources could be double the figure previously estimated, according to a report for the government.

Chancellor George Osborne

Osborne confirms DECC and Defra budget cuts in spending review

The Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed in today's spending review that the Department for Energy and Climate Change's (DECC) budget will be cut by 8%, while the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has agreed a 10% cut.

Centrica agrees Northern England fracking deal with Cuadrilla

The British Gas owner, Centrica, has bought a 25% stake in a venture license to drill for shale gas in Northern England from fracking firm Cuadrilla.

Lord Deben: UK must commit to low carbon technology to achieve 2050 emissions target

Investing in a portfolio of low-carbon technologies between 2020 and 2030 rather than gas-fired generation will offer "significant economic benefits", new analysis from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) shows.

More than one in three to vote pro-wind in local elections

Supporting wind farms could help candidates win seats in local elections taking place across England tomorrow, according to new research.

Wasting energy in the UK remains high - 67% of people admit toboiling the kettle with more water than needed

Britain's 'energy wasting behaviour' remains high

Energy wasting amongst Brit's remains high despite 80% saying they consider energy saving measures, according to the latest Government figures.

UK shale not necessarily 'silver bullet' to low energy prices

The Government should not assume that gas prices will fall due to a shale gas revolution in the UK, according to a report from the Energy and Climate Change Committee.

Fossil fuels important for UK's low carbon transition says think tank

Fossil fuels have an important role in the UK's transition to low carbon electricity, according to a report released today by the cross-party think tank Carbon Connect.

Is the Chancellor's Budget end of the road for a sustainable economy?

Yesterday's budget provided little assurance to the green sector after the Chancellor announced further cuts to the Department of Energy and Climate Change's (DECC) spending and increased support for the exploration of shale gas, Leigh Stringer reports.

BUDGET 2013: CCS gets go ahead but shale gas to lead the way says Chancellor

The Chancellor announced in today's budget that it will take on two major carbon capture and storage projects but also highlighted intentions to drive investment in shale gas.

Prime Minister David Cameron

PM says Europe's most energy efficient economies will win growth race

Businesses that are best insulated from energy price shocks will be the most successful, while the most energy efficient economies in Europe will see the most growth, says David Cameron.

Locals welcome shale exploration

A survey commissioned by the British drilling company, Cuadrilla Resources, suggests that residents in Lancashire are beginning to support the continued exploration of shale gas in their local area.

Consumers support expansion of renewables

Consumers believe energy companies should invest their profits in renewable energy, according to new research.

Fracking potential risk to 'fragile' UK water supply

The water industry has expressed its concerns over the Government's announcement that fracking for shale gas will resume in the UK.

Fracking gets green light as shale makes comeback in the UK

Hydraulic fracturing for shale gas will resume after the Government today lifted a ban on the practice, known as fracking.

Cameron urges Britain to join the shale gas revolution

Prime Minister David Cameron has confirmed his intentions to pursue the potential of shale gas in the UK claiming the technology could be "transformative".

The Chancellor George Osborne

Osborne slammed for 'gas obsession'

The Chancellor has received heavy criticism from environmental organisations following his autumn statement where he outlined plans to allow a new fleet of gas-fired power stations to be built across the UK.

Chancellor George Osborne

UK scientific community must lead world in energy storage technology

Chancellor George Osborne said today that urgent action is needed to ensure the UK establishes itself as an international focus for energy storage research and innovation.

Fracking could hinder renewable energy targets warns CIWEM

Shale gas from fracking should not be encouraged in the UK until there is evidence that operations can be delivered safely and robust regulatory controls are implemented, according to the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).

Paterson welcomes shale, warns of renewables "unintended" risks

Owen Paterson's first speech as the newly appointed Environment Secretary for the Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) contained cautionary comments on renewable energy and a clear endorsement of shale gas.

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