Wales joins Scotland with freeze on fracking

Fracking will not be carried out in Wales until its safety is proven, under a new motion proposed by Plaid Cymru and supported by the Welsh Assembly.

Several exploratory drilling applications that had been approved in the Vale of Glamorgan and surrounding areas, will now be frozen.

Ultimate decision power on fracking permission lies with Westminster, but Welsh politicians have called for those powers to be devolved, as they will be in Scotland after the general election in May.

Last week, the Scottish government also announced a moratorium on planned fracking sites, pending further review.

The news was roundly welcomed by environmental activists, who have been vociferous in their opposition to the drilling technique.

‘Dirty industry’

Greenpeace energy campaigner Simon Clydesdale said: “Westminster’s pro-fracking ministers are looking increasingly isolated and out of touch, as both Scotland and Wales slam their doors in the face of the shale industry.

“While the Westminster leadership marches on, hand in hand with the shale industry, leaders from Germany, France, New York State and now Scotland and Wales are listening to their communities and putting a freeze on this dirty, risky fossil fuel industry.”

“Ed Miliband should join his common-sense colleagues in Wales and Scotland and back a moratorium across the UK. Clearly fracking is becoming increasingly politically toxic – MPs across all parts of the UK should realise this, or they may pay the price in May’s election.”

His counterpart at Friends of the Earth, Donna Hume, espoused a similar view, calling for a focus on truly ‘clean’ energy.

“Fracking in the UK is looking increasingly like a lame duck. It’s time the Government stopped trying to get this damaging and unpopular industry off the ground and started prioritising energy efficiency and renewable energy.” 

Earlier this month, Westminster MPs defeated an attempt to impose a UK-wide moratorium but the coalition government had to accept several Labour proposals to tighten regulation of shale developments. 

Brad Allen

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