Today MPs have voted 298 to 261 to allow fracking for shale gas 1,200m (3,937ft) below national parks and other protected sites. In January the government said there would be an outright ban on fracking in protected areas.
The controversial new rules, put many households’ drinking water at risk of contamination, Friends of the Earth said today.
The Government had tried to appease concerns by ruling out fracking in national parks, and straight through drinking water aquifers, but has been criticised for still allowing fracking in the protected areas that feed water into aquifers and under national parks.
With the Government plans to open up vast new swathes of the country, thousands of households’ drinking water could be at risk.
Friends of the Earth believes that the government should have allowed all MPs an opportunity to scrutinise the plans in a full debate in the House of Commons.
Rose Dickinson, energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth said: “The government’s own draft report found contaminated water poses risks to human health. Yet these new rules will put our drinking water and national parks at risk of fracking; a complete U-turn on earlier promises.
“People will rightly be concerned that the government is not following through on its commitment to have strong regulation on fracking.
“It is time for us to follow in the footsteps of Scotland and Wales by halting all plans for fracking, which is completely incompatible with tackling climate change and the agreement reached in Paris.”
Friends of the Earth is campaigning for a full ban on fracking because 80% of fossil fuels have to remain in the ground if we are to avoid dangerous climate change.