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Victory for anti-fracking campaigners! But protesters say they won’t rest until ‘ban’ is made permanent

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ANTI-fracking campaigners are celebrating a ‘temporary ban’ on fracking imposed by the UK government.

However, local campaigners say that whilst they welcome the news, they will not rest until the ban is made permanent.

Business secretary Andrea Leadsom, made the announcement last week about the indefinite suspension of fracking – the process of drilling down into the earth to release gas –  following a report by the Oil and Gas Authority that said it was not possible to predict the magnitude of earthquakes that could be caused by fracking.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has said that ‘further consents for fracking will not be granted’ unless the industry ‘can reliably predict and control tremors’ linked to fracking.

In response to the news, member of Frome Anti-Fracking, Annabelle Macfadyen, told Frome Times, “The government’s decision to finally ban fracking affirms what we have been saying for years, that fracking poses unacceptable risks to local communities and is environmentally damaging, including contributing to climate change.

Frack Free Somerset, of which Frome Anti-Fracking is a member said, “Have we won? For now, yes. A fracking moratorium is definitely worth celebrating. Will the anti-fracking movement close down? No. A moratorium is not a ban and there is still work to be done. However, we can chill a bit and celebrate.”

The news of the ban on fracking follows the announcement that the UK will be returning to the polls for a general election in December – prompting speculation that the announcement by the Conservative government is an ‘election stunt’.

Annabelle said, “Some say that it is an election stunt by the government, and that may be true, but it shows that environmental issues are clearly on the agenda for this election. The anti-fracking  movement will, I’m sure, remain vigilant whilst accepting that this is a fantastic win for the campaign.”

However, Frack Free Somerset has urged caution. In the event of a Conservative victory, they warn of the possibility of a ‘fracking is safe’ research paper ‘magically appearing’. “(Then) it’s all systems go for trashing the UK’s water, air, soil and communities,” say Frack Free Somerset.

Campaign group, Frome Anti-Fracking, was set up in 2015 in response to licences being awarded by the government to South Western Energy for potential fracking close to Frome. Despite South Western Energy pulling out of the project in 2016, campaigners have continued with their work,  fearing for future possible government licences.

The group has organised talks, films, as well as street theatre to get the message across of the risks of fracking.

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