Open mind on fracking, admits MP

AN MP representing an area where plans for fracking hit rocky ground said he was keeping an open mind after the new Prime Minister lifted the government’s blanket ban on fracking.

Tory MP Alexander Stafford has previously spoken out against the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, a technique used in the extraction of gas from shale rock.

PM Liz Truss has formally lifted a moratorium on fracking where there is “support locally”.

Applications to investigate fracking in Woodsetts and Harthill, which are in Mr Stafford’s Rother Valley patch, caused a storm of protest from residents and campaigners.

Fracking was dismissed by Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband, the shadow climate and net zero secretary, as “dangerous, expensive, and will not tackle the energy crisis”.

Mr Stafford said after last week’s announcement: “I will consider all options when it comes to fracking.

“I rebelled against the Conservative whip but I believe there is no community belief in fracking, so I do not think we will get that process.”

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said shale gas had the potential to provide the UK with “greater energy security, economic growth and jobs”.

Business secretary Jacob-Rees Mogg said: “It is important that we use all available sources of fuel within this country.”

Offshore gas production has been in decline since 2000, which has meant that the UK has gone from being a net exporter of gas to importing over half of gas supplies in 2018, said the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and estimates suggest we could be importing 72 per cent of its gas by 2030.

A DBEIS spokesperson said fracking “cannot occur without local community involvement in planning decisions and the application process” but insisted it could bring “a safe, secure and affordable supply of energy” within existing carbon limits.