MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Wales extended its moratorium on drilling for shale gas and oil in a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the Welsh government said in a statement Friday.
"The direction has been issued to require that any planning application connected to the gasification of coal must be referred to Welsh Ministers where local planning authorities are minded to approve them," Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant said in the announcement.
The moratorium is said to be "in line" with the 2015 direction that prevents local planning authorities from approving developments involving onshore shale oil or gas exploration with the use of unconventional extraction techniques.
"I have issued it in order to avoid any ambiguity and to ensure our precautionary approach extends to UCG [Underground Coal Gasification]. This new direction will apply to any relevant application for planning permission registered as valid on or after 25th March 2016," Sargeant added.
The Scottish government announced its moratorium on fracking in January 2015.
Local authorities in Wales and Scotland have expressed support for nationwide anti-fracking activists who warn about major environmental risks and the potential to trigger minor earthquakes associated with fracking.