FRACKING should be brought to an immediate halt pending assurances over safety and environmental concerns, MPs sensationally claimed in a report this morning.
The practice, which involves pumping water through rock to release shale gas, should be “prohibited outright” in national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and water source protection zones, the cross-party Commons environmental audit committee wrote.
According to the committee, fracking is incompatible with Britain’s commitment to slash greenhouse gas emissions — but uncaring ministers and greedy power companies want to expand the practice.
In its report, published ahead of the final Commons debate on fracking legislation, the committee warned of an “extensive range of uncertainties” — from polluting water supplies to noisy disruption.
Supporters of the practice claim it would mark a step away from traditional fossil fuel strategies.
But the MPs threw out this excuse — saying it could not be considered a “transition fuel” as coal burning would already have been phased out under EU regulations by the time large-scale fracking had started.
Labour committee chair Joan Walley said: “We cannot allow Britain’s national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty to be developed into oil and gas fields.
“Even if a national moratorium on shale drilling in the UK is not accepted there should be an outright ban on fracking in such special sites.”
Lancashire County Council is due to rule on two landmark fracking applications this week.
Shale giant Cuadrilla called for the decision to be postponed after planning officers recommended councillors vote the applications down.