Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Britain has just controversially allowed fracking under National Parks. The fracking rigs can’t be erected inside the parks, but horizontal drilling from properties adjoining the parks, into land which lays underneath the parks, is now permitted.
MPs have voted to allow fracking for shale gas 1,200m below national parks and other protected sites.
The new regulations – which permit drilling from outside the protected areas – were approved by 298 to 261.
Opposition parties and campaigners criticised the lack of a Commons debate – and accused ministers of a U-turn as they previously pledged an outright ban on fracking in national parks.
The government said its plans would protect “our most precious landscapes”.
Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom also said there had already been “enormous debate” on the subject.
Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-35107203
Britain, which has suffered years of disastrous green energy policy mistakes, currently faces a serious electricity grid capacity crisis. The failure of Britain’s green energy policies was admitted a few weeks ago in parliament by Amber Rudd, the British Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change;
We now have an electricity system where no form of power generation, not even gas-fired power stations, can be built without government intervention.
And a legacy of ageing, often unreliable plant.
Perversely, even with the huge growth in renewables, our dependence on coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, hasn’t been reduced.
Indeed a higher proportion of our electricity came from coal in 2014 than in 1999.
Read more: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/amber-rudds-speech-on-a-new-direction-for-uk-energy-policy
Britain’s desperate electricity crisis is exacerbated by the accelerating retirement of North Sea gas fields, which threatens to make Britain even more dependent on unstable Russian gas supplies, and vigorous domestic political opposition to nuclear power and fracking.
As Rudd admitted, British energy market is so politicised, nobody is investing without government guarantees and incentives. I personally doubt this latest move, to try to make fracking more attractive, will improve the situation. As long as Britain’s opposition parties remain vigorously opposed to fracking, and given that even the current British government still pays lip service to the pre-eminence of renewables, despite slashing renewables subsidies, Britain will likely remain a politically unattractive destination for desperately needed fossil fuel energy infrastructure investment.