Thank you for contacting me about fracking.
Ministers maintained that fracking should only proceed if the science shows that it is safe, sustainable and minimises disturbances to local communities. Therefore, I welcomed the Government’s decision to halt fracking considering the most recent evidence.
In 2019 from the Oil & Gas Authority, an independent regulator, found that it was not possible to accurately predict the probability or magnitude of earthquakes linked to fracking. As a result, the Government immediately announced a moratorium on fracking in England. This position will be maintained unless compelling new evidence is provided which addresses the concerns around the prediction and management of induced seismicity.
The wholesale price of gas and energy has increased in the UK and Europe due to various factors, including an increase in demand as economies across the globe reopened after lockdowns. In light of Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine which has also contributed to further global gas price rises, the Prime Minister has been clear that it’s right we move away from dependence on Russian gas and and increase self-reliance with our energy sources.
The Government is considering all options; it has always been clear that it will be open to shale gas exploration if it can be done in a safe and sustainable way. I am glad that the Prime Minister will soon announce an Energy Supply Strategy which will address how the Government will meet the short, medium and long-term needs of the UK.
You may be interested to know that renewable energy is cheaper than gas and therefore one long-term solution is to move in that direction. I welcome that the UK renewable capacity is up 500 per cent since 2010. However, the Government recognises that more must be done, and so is accelerating renewables with annual Contract for Difference auctions. I want to be clear that the more cheap, clean power we generate in the UK, the less exposed we will be to global gas markets.