After the announcement of a moratorium on shale gas, the sincerity of the British government in doubt

This turnaround occurs during the election campaign. Since 2010, the authorities have always supported hydraulic fracturing projects.

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The Preston New Road site in Lancashire, near Blackpool, northwestern England, here in October 2018, where an exploratory drilling took place. OLI SCARFF / AFP

For the past decade, the British Conservative government has been against and against all support for the shale gas industry. Despite the overwhelming opposition of the British population, despite daily protests for years in the North of England, despite the rejections of many local authorities, the three prime ministers since 2010 – David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson – had always supported the aspirations of this nascent industry. Until Saturday, November 2, when the British government imposed, to general surprise, a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.

This sudden change could spell the death of shale gas in the United Kingdom. All the other political parties – Labor, Liberal Democrats, Greens – are opposed to this technology. In Scotland, a ban is already in place. Only the steadfast help of conservatives kept the slim hopes of those who dreamed of an energy revolution similar to that of the United States.

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57 tremors in two months

But the announcement, in the middle of the election campaign, raises doubts about the sincerity of the government. The legislative elections will be held on December 12 and the Conservatives need to win ridings in the North, where the first hydraulic fracturing experiments were under way. "Of course, we must not believe our Prime Minister, who is a liar, and it is clearly done to win votes, recognizes Tina Rothery, one of the leaders in shale gas control in the UK. And it's not really a ban, but a simple moratorium. "

Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn called the moratorium "manœelection to try to win some votes ". If he came to power, he promised on Twitter a "Real change", with the definitive prohibition of this technique.

Doubts are reinforced by a column that Boris Johnson wrote in 2012, titled: "Ignore the merchants of apocalypse, Britain must embark on hydraulic fracturing. " He condemned as 'Absurd' the "Green lobby" and the "Eco-warriors" who "Denounced as madmen" the shale gas. For him, the new techniques for extracting gas were then "Good news without limit".


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