Campaigners in Nottinghamshire say they welcome the new Prime Minister’s re-instatement of a ban on fracking – but say the threat has not gone away.
Fracking is a controversial extraction process which involves the hydraulic fracturing of rocks by pumping water and chemicals at high pressure to release gas to be used for energy.
The Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto pledged to ban it – before former Prime Minister Liz Truss’ government U-turned on the commitment once she came to power last month.
But yesterday (October 26), Rishi Sunak restored the ban on fracking during his first Prime Minister’s Questions.
He said he would “stand by the manifesto” in 2019 which put a moratorium on shale gas extraction – until there was new scientific evidence about the technique.
It comes after Labour’s shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change, Ed Miliband, said last week that the party would ban fracking “once and for all” while talking to residents in a Nottinghamshire village where the practice has been proposed.
The Misson Springs site, in Bassetlaw, was subject to shale gas tests until 2019 after Nottinghamshire County Council approved plans in 2016.
In 2019 “exploration work” was completed at the site, and applicants Island Gas Ltd (IGAS) said it had found a “world-class gas resource”.
But former Misson resident Sheelagh Handy, said the threat of fracking in Misson remains.
She called for the site to be restored to its former state.
She said: “It is a pause, not a ban. We are very aware as a community that the threat could return any moment.
“The fact is that iGas should have restored the site a long while ago.
“It is an uncertain time because we have been here before and on a pinhead, everything changed again.
“We welcome what was said by Sunak but we actually want action, we want the site restored.
“We want a ban on fracking nationally.”
Erin McDaid, Head of Communications & Marketing at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, added: “We certainly welcome the announcement [by Mr Sunak].
“It means fracking can’t go ahead until it’s proven safe, what we don’t have is any indication as to what the government would accept to prove that it’s safe.
“The prospect of fracking still hangs over us, it hasn’t gone away.
“It will hopefully mean we can get the experimental drilling site at Misson springs capped and restored.
“Nationally the picture is still very scary. This is welcome but it’s only a crumb of comfort.”