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Labour Calls for Total Ban on Fracking as Advertising Watchdog Criticises Scare Campaign

Britain’s left-wing Labour Party has announced it will impose a total ban on fracking if it wins the next election.

Announcing the policy at the party’s annual conference in Liverpool on Monday, Shadow Energy Secretary Barry Gardiner said that fracking “locks us into an energy infrastructure that is based on fossil fuels long after our country needs to have moved to renewables.”

“The next Labour government will back the clean technologies of the future,” he added.

“We will consult with our colleagues in industry and the trade unions about the best way to transition our energy industry to create the vital jobs and apprenticeships we are going to need for the UK’s low-carbon future.”

However, the policy has already been widely criticised, including by Labour Party members.

Labour’s former Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint pointed out that Britain is currently dependent on imported gas and criticised Mr Gardiner for failing to explain what he would do about this.

She told Sky News: “If you are going to say ‘ban an energy source’, you have got to fill it with something else.

“We can’t just be against things. We have to explain what our policy is and what we stand for when it comes to energy.”

She added that the UK is currently “a hostage to hostile gas markets around the world”.

The announcement comes as green campaign group Friends of the Earth is accused by Britain’s advertising watchdog of making misleading claims about the environmental impact of fracking.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said Friends of the Earth had failed to substantiate claims that fracking causes cancer, contaminates water supplies, causes house prices to plummet or increases asthma rates.

The Times obtained a copy of the draft ruling after its publication was repeatedly delayed by the campaign group asking for more time to challenge its findings.

Ruling on an ad that contains the claims, the ASA says: “The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Friends of the Earth Trust Ltd not to make claims about the likely effects of fracking on the health of local populations, drinking water, or property prices in the absence of adequate evidence.”

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