UK government faces backlash as it gives freedom to frack

freedom to frack

The UK government is looking to overhaul trespass laws to allow fracking on private property. Creative Commons: Daniel Foster, 2013

The UK government is once again facing strong opposition as it pursues plans to give energy companies the freedom to frack for shale gas under private land.

The move, expected to be announced in the Queen’s Speech on June 3, will see changes to trespass laws, allowing companies to drill without permission in return for minimal compensation to landowners.

Such an announcement is expected to face strong criticism from local councillors and green groups, who have sought to use existing laws to block fracking.

They warn that the government is turning a “blind eye” to the risks of fracking.

These include scientific warnings on its potential health impacts and the possibility of water contaminationmethane leakage and earthquakes.

The government’s continued pursuit of shale gas also pits it against its own citizens, who continue to strongly oppose shale gas despite the offering of financial incentives.

Recent polling shows that the majority of UK citizens would prefer to live near a wind farm than a fracking site, putting them increasingly at odds with the ruling Conservative party that has proposed a moratorium on onshore wind after the next election.

With opposition leader Ed Miliband arguing that onshore wind has a central role to play in the UK’s energy mix, energy is quickly rising to become a central issue in the 2015 general elections.

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