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Government gives green light to controversial gas ‘fracking’

PUBLISHED: 13:32 13 December 2012

Demonstrators hold placards calling for a ban on exploration and development of shale gas and coal bed methane in the UK. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Demonstrators hold placards calling for a ban on exploration and development of shale gas and coal bed methane in the UK. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire

The government has given the green light to allow the controversial practise of “fracking” for shale gas to continue – sparking speculation that it could inspire a “dash for gas” within the energy industry.

Energy secretary Ed Davey announced today that the much-maligned procedure for extracting gas could resume in the UK, with assurances made that measures would be in place to reduce the risk of it causing earthquakes.

It comes after gas company Cuadrilla moves to extract gas in Lancashire were put on hold 18 months ago after fracking, which uses high-pressure liquid to split rock and extract gas, caused two small earthquakes.

Mr Davey said that shale gas provided a promising new resource for energy in the UK, despite the picture being unclear as to how it could benefit energy resources, jobs and the economy.

However, the minister was confident that the gas would play an important role in the coming decades for heating, cooking and electricity.

Meanwhile, The Treasury has thrown its support behind the industry by proposing tax relief for shale gas, as well as revealing a gas generation strategy, which may pave the way for a new “dash for gas”

But campaigners warned that a dependency on gas could prevent the UK for meeting its targets for cutting emissions in a bid to reign in the effects of climate change.

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