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Sunak reinstates ban on fracking after backlash

Rishi Sunak has confirmed fracking will remain banned after being questioned by Green MP Caroline Lucas at his first PMQs.

This comes after former prime minister Liz Truss’ decision to lift the moratorium where there was local consent received much backlash from the public and members of her own party.

Sunak said he was committed to the Conservatives’ 2019 manifesto, in which they pledged to maintain the moratorium unless fracking was proven to be safe, a claim which was later confirmed by a No 10 spokesperson.

The latest research on fracking has found the science has changed little since the 2019 ban which suggest fracking still poses a risk of earth tremors.

Lucas asked if the prime minister would ‘reverse the green light [Truss] gave to fracking since it’s categorically not been shown to be safe.’

In response, Sunak said: Sunak replied: ‘I have already said I stand by the manifesto on that. But what I would say is that I’m proud that this government has passed the landmark Environment Act, putting more protections for the natural environment than we have ever had with a clear plan to deliver.

‘And I can give the honourable lady my commitment that we will deliver on all those ambitions. We will deliver on what we said at Cop[26] because we care deeply about passing our children an environment in a better state than we found it ourselves.’

Environmentalists had criticised the government’s earlier position on fracking, saying lifting the ban would devastate communities, lead to methane leaks and wouldn’t help to solve the energy crisis.

Reacting to the reimposed the fracking moratorium, Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Danny Gross said: ‘This is a fantastic victory for common sense, the environment and local communities across the country who have stood up to the threat of fracking.

‘The government must now focus on real solutions to the energy crisis including a street-by-street home insulation programme and developing the UK’s huge potential of onshore wind and solar energy production.’

The debate over fracking is what many think brought Truss’ government to an end, as a Commons vote on the issue saw 40 Conservative MPs refuse to back their party and many remained uncertain over whether it was a confidence vote.

There were also allegations of ministers physically dragging unsure MPs into the vote. Truss resigned the next day.

Photo by Paul-Allen Hunt

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