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Labour Calls for Fracking Moratorium

In the UK, the sides are beginning to split about the future of ‘fracking’.  The latest development is the call from one of the leaders of the Labour Leadership contest, Andy Burnham who suggest that there should be a stop on fracking development until there is stronger scientific evidence on it’s safety.

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He is the most senior politician to come out against fracking and warning that the licenses currently being handed out are based on very flimsy, scientific evidence.    Burnham is the MP for Leigh which is part of Greater Manchester, and intends to outline plans for the opposition’s position on fracking.  He commented how he was surprised to find a couple of years ago that there were already 9 licenses granted in his constituency and some are being progressed.

“These things just seem to be handed out like confetti. That made me really focus on the issue. In my area, we are riddled with mine shafts as a former mining area. Where is the evidence that it is safe to come and frack a place like this? No fracking should go ahead until we have much clearer evidence on the environmental impact.”

There is a growing movement against these fossil fuel projects with the Scottish government pushing for the more environmental approach.  The Guardian newspaper has launched a similar project called – ‘keep it in the ground campaign’.   There is another avenue that protesters are hoping to block fracking in the European parliament which is voting next week in a motion that EU member states should not authorise any new explorations ‘ until proven safe’.  In America, fracking is widespread and largely unregulated although New York State has banned the practice.

There does seem a split in the political parties in the UK, unfortunately though the Conservatives who have a working majority are largely in favour of the practice citing it’s employment and economic benefits.  There are some interesting reports and programmes on the BBC which cover the issues – you can access them on the BBC iPlayer currently but will need a proxy to access from outside the UK – http://iplayerusa.org/index.php/proxy-to-access-bbc-iplayer-abroad/

George Osborne, the chancellor has stated that the technology will produce many jobs, reduce energy bills and ultimately make the UK less dependent on countries like Russia for our energy supplies.  This however completely ignores the main protestations against the technology simply that there is not enough scientific evidence to prove it is safe in a country like the UK.  Our country is smaller and much more densely populated than some of the US areas which are being cited for safety reference and even there some dispute the records of the current fracking developments.

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