Hollande: non au ‘fracking’

France’s President François Hollande put a firm dampener on hopes for shale gas in the country by announcing he has rejected several applications to explore for the unconventional gas. At […]

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By Vicky Ellis

France’s President François Hollande put a firm dampener on hopes for shale gas in the country by announcing he has rejected several applications to explore for the unconventional gas.

At an environmental conference in Paris on Friday the French premier said his Government would shut down plans for hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”, the controversial method used to extract shale gas which involves pumping a mixture of water, sand and chemicals deep underground.

France banned shale gas in July 2011 but the French Government’s expert study into the fuel source in March this year – which was favourable – initially gave hope to shale gas explorers.

Despite Hollande’s comments, some explorers including French power firm Total reportedly plan to keep pushing for the ban to be lifted.

In the speech Hollande also suggested a 40% cut in European Union carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and a 60% reduction by 2040, as well as a decision to shut the Fessenheim nuclear station in Alsace, near the German border, by the end of 2016.