No ban on fracking in chaotic MPs vote

MPs rejected a ban on fracking yesterday after an at times confusing debate, with MPs complaining there was little time to thrash over key issues. They voted against an amendment to […]

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By Vicky Ellis

MPs rejected a ban on fracking yesterday after an at times confusing debate, with MPs complaining there was little time to thrash over key issues.

They voted against an amendment to the government’s Infrastructure Bill which would ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing in the UK outright. The government won with a majority of 256 votes (52 in favour, 308 against).

However MPs did vote in stronger checks on the industry, with Labour’s proposals for 13 new conditions drillers to keep to before hydraulic fracturing can happen.

Labour claimed their victory was an embarrassing “u-turn” for the Coalition.

Fracking confusing

Before voting began, confusion reigned in the Chamber when Energy Minister Amber Rudd seemed to promise stronger safeguards for conservation areas than in the bill on the table.

Ms Rudd said: “Let me add to my earlier comments that we have agreed an outright ban on fracking in national parks, sites of special scientific interest and areas of outstanding natural beauty.”

Quizzed by Tory colleague Anne McIntosh if the government is taking out the phrase “except in exceptional circumstances” from the bill, she repeated the claim: “That is exactly what we have done. We have now put in place an outright ban and will effectively remove those words.”

It was unclear how and when this change will be included in the legislation.