Andrew Smith MP

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Andrew criticises Coalition over its dash for gas with fracking

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Andrew has criticised the Government for its environmentally hazardous dash for gas with fracking. 

The Coalition threw its support behind fracking, with an Infrastructure Bill including measures to encourage fracking under their own homes.

Forced into a position of minority opposition, Labour stood against the Government's attempt to stop firms having to notify residents of fracking in their area. Labour insisted upon mandatory Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) for all fracking operations, along with independent inspections of wells and monitoring of fugitive methane emissions. Under the circumstances, Labour's thirteen conditions were the best that could be acquired.

Unfortunately, the Government have since thrown out these conditions in the House of Lords after accepting them in the House of Commons. The replacement proposals would allow the Secretary of State to decide which groundwater and protected areas are covered by the Bill and require planning authorities to consider the environmental impact of a development rather than insist on an EIA.

Particularly concerning is the concerted attempt to loosen Labour's requirement that people have to be notified individually of fracking in their area. Labour will challenge the new proposals when the next chance to do so arises.

Andrew said, "We must leave more fossil fuels in the ground, unburned, if we are going to avoid a very damaging temperature rise. We must cap the supply of fossil fuels, not merely dangerous greenhouse gas emissions, and we must do it as a matter of urgency. I am disappointed that this Government is so intent on worsening our climate, after steadfastly rejecting a clean power target in their Energy Bill and refusing to develop a national framework to tackle poor air quality more quickly and in a more coordinated way, among many other unhelpful things."

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