UK Labour Leader Corbyn Would Ban Fracking

01.08.2019 -

UK Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn has urged new prime minister Boris Johnson to ban fracking to help the country meet its net zero target for carbon emission by 2050. If the UK fully exploits its reserves, a Labour analysis shows this would eliminate any hope of meeting the target.

British Labour Party chief Jeremy Corbyn has called on new UK prime minister Boris Johnson to ban shale gas exploration as a way to help the country meet its net zero target for carbon emission by 2050.

An analysis of what it would take to achieve the carbon target was published by the party ahead of Corbyn’s visit to anti-fracking protestors at the Preston New Road drilling site in Lancashire, England.

Oil and gas company Cuadrilla said it had invited Corbyn to tour the site and chat with the local workforce as well as with protesters outside.

According to a Labour analysis, the amount of carbon released by drilling if the UK fully exploits its shale gas reserves would eliminate any hope of the government meeting the target by 2050.

Corbyn was touring the country ahead of new elections that could be potentially be called by Johnson within the next few months. If elected, the Labour leader said the party would ban fracking, and its “green industrial revolution” would face the climate emergency head-on.

Preston New Road is the only UK's only active shale gas extraction site but little drilling has taken place, due to repeated earthquakes. Cuadrilla resumed exploration activity at the site October 2018 following a seven-year hiatus. It had to hold the drills again repeatedly, however, due to three successive earth tremors recorded by the British Geological Survey (BGS).

British law requires that drilling be halted and tests conducted when a tremor measures 0.5 or more. Backed by petrochemicals giant Ineos, Cuadrilla has repeatedly appealed to the government to raise the threshold for seismic activity to 1.5. Up to now, the calls have been unsuccessful, even if the ruling Conservatives have fully embraced fracking.

The shale industry also has been unsuccessful in squelching protest, as the UK Court of Appeals in April this year overturned several earlier decisions made by the UK’s High Court in favor of Ineos Shale.

In 2017, the UK offshoot of the Swiss-based chemical group won an injunction that threatened severe penalties for protests at drilling sites. This prohibited “unlawful acts” against the company as and other firms in its supply chain. The appeals court ruled that Ineos could not make rules for others.