Secretary of Energy Jacob Rees-Mogg: "Absolute priority" for energy supply
Photo: NEIL HALL/EPA
The UK on Thursday formally lifted the moratorium on fracking to extract shale gas that had been in place since 2019.
The reason given was that strengthening the country's energy supply had "absolute priority".
Business and Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said all energy sources needed to be explored, "so it is right that we have ended the hiatus to explore all potential gas sources in the country".
The move follows previous announcements to resume fracking.
Fracking extracts shale gas from rock by fracturing it with water and chemicals under high pressure.
It wasn't banned in the UK because of the potential for soil pollution, but because regulators were concerned about the earthquakes it could trigger.
Pre-ban regulations stipulated that fracking projects had to be halted any time they triggered an earthquake of magnitude 0.5 or greater.
According to scientists, however, this value must be increased if Great Britain wants to produce significant quantities of gas with this method.
Internationally highly controversial funding method
A review of acceptable seismic activity Thursday said little was known about the risks of the process due to limited exploration to date.
The government said lifting the ban would allow drilling to resume and more data to be collected to develop an understanding of how shale gas can be safely extracted.
In addition to the risk of earthquakes, the extraction method is also controversial for other reasons.
The chemicals used contaminate deep water layers and soil.
In addition, there are greenhouse gas emissions and long-term changes in the rock structure.
Because the technical effort and water consumption is very high, the long-term profitability is repeatedly called into question.
After a real fracking boom in the USA, prices have been falling for a long time;
only the energy shortage resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine made fracking appear attractive again to many.
There is currently no commercial oil or natural gas fracking in Germany.