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    New Environmental Legislation to Compromise 97% of Fracking Sites in UK

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    The vast majority of shale gas exploration blocks in England will be affected by new legislation aiming to protect environmentally sensitive areas, a Greenpeace study published Monday showed.

    MOSCOW, February 2 (Sputnik) The UK House of Lords will soon debate a draft bill envisaging a ban on shale gas extraction in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and some groundwater protection zones.

    The majority of the blocks, offered last year for fracking tenders by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), might be affected by the new legislation if passed by the House of Lords, the Greenpeace study suggested.

    The study showed that only 26 out of 931 blocks, proposed by DECC in 2014, will not have any legal restrictions in accordance with the new legislation. Over half of all blocks, 489, will be partially affected, meaning that fracking will not be legal on up to half of the sites defined as AONB, SSSI or groundwater protection zones. 416 blocks will be qualified as environmentally sensitive areas and 68 blocks will be considered environmentally sensitive areas with a total ban on fracking.

    The motion calling for a ban on fracking in national parks comes after British lawmakers voted 308 to 52 to reject a fracking ban proposed by the UK Environment Audit Committee in the House of Commons last week.

    Fracking is a technique in which shale gas is extracted through the injection of a toxic fluid mixture deep underground at high pressure. Fracking fluid contains water mixed with sand and various toxic chemicals, including uranium, radium, methanol, mercury and lead. Environmental experts have proven that the fracking process leads to the contamination of groundwater with toxic materials.

    Fracking was suspended in the United Kingdom between June 2011 and April 2012 after several minor quakes were thought to have been caused by process. However, other research concluded that fracking could be resumed as the risk was deemed to be minimal.


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    Shale oil, shale gas, fracking, UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, United Kingdom
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