The new regulations – which allow drilling from outside the protected areas – were approved by 298 votes to 261.
Britain is estimated to have substantial amounts of gas trapped in underground shale rocks and Prime Minister Cameron has pledged to go all-out to extract these reserves, to help offset declining North Sea oil and gas output.
Shale gas drillers will now be allowed to drill horizontally into deposits situated underneath national parks but shale gas wellheads must be located outside the protected zones.
Shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandy said that fracking should not go ahead in Britain until stronger safeguards are in place to protect drinking water sources and sensitive parts of our countryside like national parks.
A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: “The UK has one of the best track records in the world for protecting our environment while developing our industries – these regulations will get this vital industry moving while protecting our environment and people.
“Yesterday’s Task Force for Shale Gas report confirmed exactly what we have been saying for some time – that with the right standards in place fracking can take place safely.”
UKOOG – the trade association for the onshore UK oil and gas industry – welcomed the secondary legislation passed by parliament.
A spokesman said: “The onshore oil industry takes the protection of our natural world seriously, and we have a long established track record of developing oil and gas fields successfully and safely in environmentally sensitive areas.
“It is important to recognise that any future hydraulic fracturing for shale will take place several kilometres underground and as an industry we take all possible steps to minimise our impact on the environment and the surrounding communities.”
‘Let’s get fracking!’ UK Shale Task Force green-lights gas on jobs, safety, environment and economic grounds
For full story on The Scottish Shale Moratorium see also:
Strong UK interest in Scottish shale energy as DECC confirms 9 oil-gas firms have applied for exploration licences
SCOTTISH ENERGY ASSOCIATION®
Brunel Building | SE Technology Park | East Kilbride | G75 0QD
16/12/2015: AGM & Speaker Prof Paul Younger, Glasgow
10/3/2016: Power Scotland Conference, Glasgow