MP backs gas fracking despite reports of quakes in Blackpool


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The Independent Online

The head of an influential cross-party energy committee yesterday threw his weight behind "fracking" for gas, a day after a report linked the controversial process to earthquakes for the first time in the UK.

Tim Yeo, the chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, said that "on the information available at present, there is no need to impose a moratorium" on drilling for shale gas. Mr Yeo, whose committee is a key adviser to the Department for Energy and Climate Change, said he was aware of the concerns raised by an independent report into hydraulic fracturing on Wednesday, which linked the drilling of a single well in the Blackpool area to 50 tremors, most of them tiny.

The process involves pumping a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the rock at high pressure to release the gas. Mr Yeo said people needed to recognise that there is a "degree of risk" associated with recovering all fossil fuels, whether oil, gas or coal. He argued that, on balance, the apparent benefits of fracking appear to outweigh the risks, so long as the safety and environmental actions of the practice are closely monitored.

Britain's recently discovered, apparently vast, reserves of shale gas "have the potential to be a game-changer", Mr Yeo said.