French fracking ban upheld by constitutional court

A 2011 law banning fracking in France has been upheld by the country’s constitutional court. Judges ruled the law is a valid means of protecting the environment, saying it does […]

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A 2011 law banning fracking in France has been upheld by the country’s constitutional court. Judges ruled the law is a valid means of protecting the environment, saying it does “comply with the constitution” and is not “disproportionate”.

The case was brought before the court by US company Schuepbach Energy, which had two exploration permits revoked when the ban came into effect.

The court rejected arguments the ban unfairly singled out fracking, violated property rights and is unconstitutional.

French Environment Minister Philippe Martin said: “It’s a judicial victory but also an environmental and political victory.

“With this decision the ban on hydraulic fracturing is absolute.”

Glynn Williams, partner at oil and gas investor Epi-V said: “France’s top court’s definitive ‘non’ to shale and fracking on home turf will focus even more of France’s biggest energy firms’ resources on opportunities …[in] the UK.

“With the UK Treasury and DECC firmly promoting shale gas exploration in the UK, [the] adverse fracking ruling in France should catalyse overseas investment into UK unconventional oil and gas opportunities.”

This week MEPs proposed introducing mandatory audits to assess the environmental impact of shale gas projects.