(Montel) The UK has lifted the ban on fracking for shale gas production in the country as it bids to bolster supply security amid the current European energy crisis, the government said on Thursday.
“In light of [Russian president Vladimir] Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and weaponisation of energy, strengthening our energy security is an absolute priority… we are going to ensure the UK is a net energy exporter by 2040,” business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said in a statement.
A new oil and gas licensing round, expected to lead to more than 100 new licences for exploration in the UK continental shelf in the North Sea, was also confirmed.
The decision to lift the ban followed the publication of the British Geological Survey’s scientific review, which highlighted the need to drill sites in order to gain a better understanding of the UK’s geology and improve the evidence base for further drilling, the government said.
The move to lift the ban has been criticised by environmentalists – with drilling for shale gas previously blamed on earth tremors – and was not expected to solve the supply crunch and soaring energy costs the UK faces in the near term.