Government to allow higher ‘seismic activity’ at fracking sites, Rees-Mogg suggests

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Jacob Rees-Mogg has suggested that Liz Truss’s government is ready to allow high levels of seismic activity at shale gas drilling sites as part of its plan to lift restrictions on fracking.

Despite concerns about the earthquake, the business secretary said the current limit of 0.5 on the Richter scale was “too low”.

Speaking on BBC Newsnight on Wednesday evening, Mr Rees-Mogg indicated that the government would review the current permitted levels of seismic activity at fracking sites.

“Seismic limits will be reviewed to see the proportionate level. 0.5 on the Richter scale, which is only noticeable with sophisticated machinery, it is absolutely true that fracking will not happen – that level is very low,” he said.

Mr Rees-Mogg, who will plan to end the fracking ban on Thursday, said: “I cannot confirm a new level, as it is being watched.”

It comes as Ms Truss defended the idea of ​​potentially breaching a Tory manifesto pledge by lifting a ban on fracking, claiming the energy crisis is “the number one issue we face”.

The prime minister insisted she would not authorize “anything that poses a risk”, but the government has yet to present evidence that hydraulic shale gas extraction is safe.

The 2019 Conservative manifesto pledged not to lift England’s moratorium until fracking was proven scientifically safe amid concerns over earthquakes.

Its protection was reviewed by a British Geological Survey, but its publication was delayed due to the death of the Queen. It is expected to be published on Thursday, as ministers determine how it will end the fracking ban.

A leaked copy of the Scientific Review acknowledged that forecasting “remains a scientific challenge” for drilling-induced earthquakes. It is reportedly said that there is little evidence that progress has been made in reducing and predicting earthquake risk.

“Fracking is a part of the energy mix – we must look at all options. There should be no substitute for improving our energy security as it is the number one issue we face,” said Ms. Truss.

He told reporters traveling with him on the sidelines of the United Nations summit in New York: “We will not go ahead with any risk, but I am clear that energy security is important.”

However, senior government adviser Lord Debden told independent There is no evidence that this would have a significant impact on the international price of gas if the UK maximized fracking and North Sea extraction.

Greenpeace energy security campaigner Philip Evans warned that drilling for more fossil fuels “will not lower the bill, make us less dependent on volatile fossil fuel markets or cut our carbon emissions”, with environmental groups calling on the government to lift the ban. hit the step.

He continued: “Fracking might not work at all. Even when the government went ‘all out for shell’, fracking produced no energy for the UK, but a muddy area, traffic, A huge amount of noise and brawls managed to make two holes.”

Friends of the Earth campaigner Danny Gross stated that fracking was the most unpopular and least effective method of generating energy in the UK, adding that any attempt to undermine the regulations protected against the process “only fuel its unpopularity”. will give”.

An analysis by Friends of the Earth suggested that 91 of England’s 333 local authorities have oil and gas exploration licences. Some 143 parliamentary constituencies, mainly northern England and the Midlands, have licenses that could potentially allow firms to investigate gas reserves.

Labor’s Ed Miliband accused the government of breaking “yet another manifesto promise”, calling it “dangerous fiction”. He added: “We now have an energy policy driven by the larger fossil fuel interests, not the British people.”

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