Government’s continued ban on fracking welcomed

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Derek Estill and protesters bannerThe Moderator of the United Reformed Church (URC) General Assembly has welcomed news that the government is maintaining its ban on fracking in the UK.

As reported in the Blackpool Gazette on 21 January, when asked during business questions in Parliament if the moratorium on fracking would be made permanent, Kwasi Kwarteng, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Minister, is reported to have said: "We're stopping it. The only way it can be resumed is by compelling evidence which so far is not forthcoming, So, the moratorium stays and fracking, for the time being, is over." 

Derek Estill, Moderator of the URC General Assembly, who met with protestors at the site of the UK’s first horizontal shale gas exploration wells in Preston New Road, Lancashire in April 2019, called the news “great”.

“I hope this is a sign of government acceptance that fracking is not an acceptable way of meeting and contributing to the energy needs of the 21st century,” he said.

“As we continue to wrestle with the increasing climate crisis, the health and safety risks to the local communities that fracking causes in the vicinity of their operations need to be paramount.”

Dozens of tremors have been recorded at the site since fracking firm Cuadrilla began pumping high volumes of water underground in October 2018 looking for gas. 

On 2 November, during campaigning for the General Election, the government announced fracking would not be allowed in England after a report by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) said it was not possible to predict the probability or size of tremors caused by the practice.

“I am sure, there will be rejoicing in these communities who have so effectively and determinedly fought big business interests and continue to make the case against Fracking,” Derek continued.

“I think we can also feel proud of our Church taking a strong stance on this and on the need to stop using fossil fuels by taking action to divest from such companies.” 

Daleen ten Cate, Missional Discipleship Mentor for the URC North Western Synod, who has consistently worked with other Christians to hold peaceful protests at the Preston New Road site, added: “This is great news. There can never be any compelling evidence that would suggest fracking is good for the environment, because it simply is not.”


Picture: Derek Estil, Moderator of the URC General Assembly, pictured left, with peaceful protestors at the fracking site in Lancashire.
Published: 3 February 2020

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