Will fracking make a comeback?

Barry White

News that the government may be considering a U-turn on its moratorium on fracking has been met with fierce opposition by anti-fracking campaigners as well  from the former UN secretary general who warned the UK against fracking, as the world stands at a “dangerous” point in the climate crisis, made worse by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, see: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/mar/13/fracking-is-dangerous-ban-ki-moon-warns-uk-government-over-climate-commitments. Ban Ki-moon, now deputy chair of the Elders group of former world statespeople and public figures said that the country faced stark choices as a result of the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis, and must embrace renewables instead of returning to fossil fuels.

Here in Yorkshire, The Guardian reports (see: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/mar/11/anti-fracking-uk-activists-fight-resurgence-plans- that in Doncaster, local Labour councillor Dave Shaw said he didn’t think fracking would seriously restart here “because any meaningful level of extraction is going to take 10 years at least”. But he said Frack Free South Yorkshire was nonetheless on high alert: “We’re not going into battle just yet, but there’s certainly a cranking of the wheels.”

The same is true in Ryedale, where a potential fracking site at Kirby Misperton prompted years of protest. The Kirby Misperton site is no longer at risk of fracking after Third Energy, the company granted the exploration licence, was taken over by the renewable energy firm the Wolfland Group, who hope to use the site for geothermal energy and burying captured carbon dioxide emissions.

But the Guardian reports that other energy companies, including the chemical firm Ineos, still hold licences to frack in Yorkshire and elsewhere, and that protesters will be ready should the government lift the moratorium.

Earlier the UK government announced that fracking was still a possibility, although an unlikely one, see: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/mar/09/uk-fracking-position-not-changed-phase-out-russian-oil

A government announcement is expected soon, maybe this week and they are under pressure from a small group of Conservative MPs and some energy companies to lift the moratorium imposed in November 2019.

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