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Huhne warns against kneejerk ban on fracking

Former energy secretary Chris Huhne this week warned against any kneejerk ban on hydraulic fracturing in the UK, as has happened in the US, before the method has reached a commercial scale.

Huhne said there should be a “loud and important” debate about developing safeguards with shale gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing – known as fracking – but any regulation should be put into the context that the technology is still some way off commercial exploitation in the UK.

The real reason for banning fracking in other countries was questioned by Huhne.

“Banning of shale gas drilling in some US states is in part down to media pressure,” said Huhne speaking at a shale gas debate at the ICE this week.

He cited the example of a documentary called Gaslands which showed some dramatic examples of what could go wrong using fracking, including the contamination of water supplies in Pennsylvania.

Huhne said there was no proof that fracking caused this contamination, but complained that the documentary in part contributed to the extraction ban in the neighbouring states of New York and New Jersey.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change called for stricter controls and procedures for extracting shale gas last week after an investigation found the technique most likely triggered two earthquakes last year near Blackpool.

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