The Daily Telegraph

Countrysid­e digs in for fight over fracking

- By Tony Diver and Emma Gatten

JACOB REES-MOGG has said the Government will push ahead to allow fracking in the UK, despite concern about earthquake­s and the backlash from countrysid­e groups.

The new Business Secretary said the current limit on seismic activity from fracking – at 0.5 on the Richter scale – was “too low” and “will be reviewed to see a proportion­ate level”.

A report on the potential dangers of fracking from the British Geological Survey, commission­ed by ministers in April, is expected to be published today.

The Government hopes the report will say that the dangers of shale gas extraction have been overstated, since it was banned in 2019.

Liz Truss, the Prime Minister, promised to lift the effective ban on fracking during the Tory leadership race. But in a comment piece for The Daily Telegraph, the CPRE countrysid­e pressure group said any return to fracking will cause “fury off the Richter scale” and prompt widespread rural protests.

There are licences for fracking in 148 areas of the UK, including dozens of Conservati­ve constituen­cies, many of them marginal seats.

“More seismic than the fracturing of the countrysid­e and the damage to rural homes will be the monumental backlash. The fury of local communitie­s will be off the Richter scale,” said Tom Fyans, interim CEO of the CPRE.

Ed Miliband, the shadow climate change secretary, said fracking was a “dangerous fantasy” and was “unsafe”.

Mr Rees-mogg last night told BBC Newsnight: “The seismic limits will be reviewed to see a proportion­ate level.”

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