MPs vote to reject UK fracking moratorium and approve Infrastructure Bill

UKOOG Logo [rgb]A bid to impose a moratorium on fracking for onshore gas in the UK was rejected by MPs in Westminster last night.

By a majority of 308 votes to 52, the Commons approved the UK Infrastructure Bill at its third reading.

SNP MPs in Westminster voted in favour of the fracking moratorium, along with some English Labour MPs, the Greens and Plaid Cymru.

The majority of Scottish Labour MPs abstained – even though their party leader, Jim Murphy, had earlier said he would prevent fracking in Scotland if he becomes First Minister at next year’s Holyrood elections.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has championed fracking as a way to offset a decline in the country’s North Sea energy resources and reduce its dependence on gas imports.

Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of the UK onshore oil and gas operators association, UKOOG, said: “It is good news that MPs have rejected the misguided attempts to introduce a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.

“Most of the amendments agreed are in line with best practice in the industry or codify the directions of regulators, which the industry would naturally comply with. We now need to get on with exploratory drilling to find out the extent of the UK’s oil and gas reserves.”

However, Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing will today or tomorrow tell MPs in the Scottish Parliament how he will take forward and strengthen their cautious approach to this issue, given the planned devolution of powers for Scotland after the UK general election in May.


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