Britain to impose immediate moratorium on fracking

Britain to impose immediate moratorium on fracking
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The United Kingdom on Saturday announced that it would enforce an immediate moratorium on fracking, saying that the government could not "rule out future unacceptable impacts" based on new scientific analysis. 

"Whilst acknowledging the huge potential of UK shale gas to provide a bridge to a zero carbon future, I’ve also always been clear that shale gas exploration must be carried out safely," Business and Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom said in a statement.

"After reviewing the [Oil and Gas Authority’s] report into recent seismic activity at Preston New Road, it is clear that we cannot rule out future unacceptable impacts on the local community."

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"For this reason, I have concluded that we should put a moratorium on fracking in England with immediate effect," she added. 

The move means that multiple proposals for developing fracking in the nation will be postponed.

Fracking, a process that includes extracting natural gas from rocks, has become a source of controversy in several nations.

Environmentalists in Britain are adamantly opposed to the procedure and argue that it fails to align with the country's goals to be have net zero carbon emissions by 2050, Reuters noted.

The Oil and Gas Authority report, which was published on Saturday, indicated that it "is not possible with current technology to accurately predict the probability of tremors associated with fracking." Specifically, the report said that officials could not accurately predict the probability or magnitude of earthquakes linked to fracking. 

In response, Britain's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said that the moratorium would remain in effect until "compelling new evidence is provided."

The only active fracking site in the United Kingdom had stopped its operations earlier this summer, The Guardian reported. The news outlet noted that the site, which was run by British energy company Cuadrilla, ceased operations after fracking causes multiple tremors that surpassed the government's limits on earthquakes. 

The OGA examined an incident in August that involved a 2.9-magnitude tremor shaking houses in its report, Reuters added. 

The move to ban fracking runs counter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's messaging on the controversial gas extraction technique. Johnson once said that fracking was “glorious news for humanity,” according to The Guardian. 

"This is a massive victory for grassroots activists around the country who have been campaigning for years to get fracking banned," Greenpeace UK tweeted following the decision.