Britain lifted a moratorium on fracking for shale gas on Thursday, citing the country’s energy needs.
Announcing the end of the ban, Business and Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said that “strengthening our energy security is an absolute priority” and that the UK has to “realize any potential sources of domestic gas.”
Fracking, or extracting shale gas from rocks by breaking them up, was banned in 2019 due to concerns that it could trigger earthquakes. More than 120 tremors were recorded that year at a fracking site in Lancashire, although most were too weak to be felt. The largest tremor caused by fracking, magnitude 2.3, occurred in 2011 in Blackpool, where residents reported being woken up in the night.
Prime Minister Liz Truss said earlier this month that fracking would be allowed in places where it is supported by the local communities.
The lifting of the ban comes after the British Geological Survey (BGS) released a report saying that since little fracking has taken place in the UK, it “remains challenging” to estimate the seismic impact.
Energy prices have soared in the UK and the rest of Europe amid the severe reduction in the flow of energy from Russia, and countries scrambling to secure alternative supplies.
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