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MPs to vote on fracking below national parks

Published 16/12/2015

Plans for fracking underneath the UK's national parks have sparked controversy
Plans for fracking underneath the UK's national parks have sparked controversy

Controversial proposals to allow fracking under national parks will be voted on by MPs today.

Measures which define protected areas where shale gas extraction will be banned were met with shouts of "No" in the Commons when they were tabled by the Government last night.

The draft regulations state fracking can only take place 1,200 metres below national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty, world heritage sites, the Broads and certain groundwater areas.

The Government was accused of performing a U-turn after it brought forward the proposals weeks after May's general election.

MPs were told a deferred division ballot on the issue would take place today.

Shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandy accused ministers of using a "parliamentary back door" to try to approve the "weak regulations" without debate.

In a statement she said: "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."

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron also suggested the Government was trying to "sneak" through a decision without a "proper debate", labelling such a move "outrageous".

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."

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