Welsh Tories say Wales' fracking ban should stay




  • In Business
  • 2022-09-22 14:42:45Z
  • By BBC
Undated handout file photo of the Cuadrilla hydraulic fracturing site at Preston New Road shale gas exploration site in Lancashire
Undated handout file photo of the Cuadrilla hydraulic fracturing site at Preston New Road shale gas exploration site in Lancashire  

Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd have backed Wales' keeping its ban on fracking, despite the Tory UK government's decision to end a mortarium in England.

Labour Welsh ministers have opposed any new oil and gas extraction, including fracking, for years.

The UK government argued an end to the ban was needed because of the impact of the war in Ukraine on energy supplies.

But the Welsh Tory group said it will "continue to support the moratorium".

On Thursday the Welsh government confirmed it was not changing its policy, saying UK wide gas reserves are too small to "meaningfully" affect prices.

The Welsh government opposes all oil and gas extraction, regardless of whether it uses fracking or not, because of the impact on climate change.

  • Fracking ban lifted, government announces

  • What is fracking?

Fracking is a way of mining gas and oil from shale rock, using a high-pressure mixture of water and sand.

Concerns about earth tremors led to a moratorium on fracking in 2019.

Janet Finch-Saunders, shadow minister for Energy, said her group "will continue to support the moratorium on fracking in Wales.

"We will encourage the Welsh government to use the latest scientific evidence to direct policy in Wales."

A spokesman for the Labour government said it does not support "the UK government's position on the expansion of oil and gas exploration".

"We are fully committed to supporting our net zero commitments and will not support applications for hydraulic fracturing or issue new petroleum licences in Wales."

In the Senedd, on Tuesday, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: "We will not solve the energy crisis by reverting to ways of supplying energy that have done so much damage to our planet."

'Weaponisation of energy'

"In light of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's illegal invasion of Ukraine and weaponisation of energy, strengthening our energy security is an absolute priority," UK government Business and Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said in a statement announcing the end of the ban.

Hywel Williams of Plaid Cymru told the Commons that Thursday was the date of the 1934 Gresford mining disaster, where 266 men and boys were killed.

"In Wales, we know the cost of dangerous fossil fuel extraction so that others, remotely, can profit," he said, adding that Gresford had been mooted as a fracking site. He asked Mr Rees-Mogg if he had any intention of returning powers on Welsh oil and gas to Westminster.

"Mr Speaker, I am not seeking to upset the devolution settlement," he said.

The decision to end the ban in England came alongside a scientific review by the British Geological Survey (BGS), which found there was still a limited understanding of the UK's shale reserves and drilling impacts.

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