‘Just Good Common Sense’: UK Confirms it Will Lift Fracking Ban in England

Jacob Rees-Mogg, UK business, energy and industrial strategy secretary, departs following the first meeting of cabinet ministers under Liz Truss, UK prime minister, at 10 Downing Street in London, UK, on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022. Liz Truss promised a major package of support this week to tackle soaring UK energy …
Hollie Adams/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The UK government has removed a ban on the use of fracking in England, with the country’s Energy Secretary telling the house of commons that the move is “just good common sense”.

A ban on the use of fracking in England that has been in place since 2019 has finally been lifted in the face of the ongoing energy crisis, with the UK Energy Secretary, Jacob Rees-Mogg, having said the decision makes “just good common sense”.

Speaking in the commons on Thursday, Rees-Mogg outright dismissed any suggestion that fracking posed any danger through seismic activity, saying that such notions were bourne out of a total misunderstanding of how earthquakes are measured.

“It is safe. It is shown to be safe,” the long-time Brexiteer said. “The scare stories have been disproved time and again.”

“The hysteria about seismic activity, I think fails to understand that the Richter scale is a logarithmic scale,” he continued. “[People] seem to think it is a straight arithmetic scale, which of course it is not.”

“Bringing on this supply will bring us cheaper energy, which we need,” he went on to say, even suggesting that some of those who are looking to resist the implementation of fracking “has been funded by Mr Putin’s regime“.

Noting that the UK would continue to be reliant on gas for some years to come, Rees-Mogg told representatives that it was better to source the hydrocarbon locally than be left to the mercy of foreign malign actors like Russia and the Gulf states for hydrocarbons, or even China which makes the vast majority of the world’s solar panels.

“Do we really want [our constituents] to be dependent on strange dictatorships that wage war in this world, or do we want to have our own security our own supplies?” he asked the House. “This seems to me, Mr Speaker, to be just good common sense.”

The newly minted energy secretary’s claim that fracking is safe — while unpopular with some members of the House of Commons — seems to be bourne out by significant evidence.

For example, one study done by Newcastle University found that the risk posed by fracking in the UK was ultimately minimal, and that any tremours created by the process would ultimately be much smaller than those created by coal mining in the country last century.

“We lived with them without much concern during the coal mining era,” petroleum geologist Prof Richard Davies said regarding the expected phenomena. “During coal production, vast numbers of earthquakes were created in the UK right until the 1980s and the coal miners’ strike.”

“Effectively Margaret Thatcher stopped the earthquakes, and they were never very big,” he continued, noting that — despite the time difference — the UK was still dealing with “the same set of rocks”.

“The risk of seismicity is high, but the impact is low,” he went on to say.

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