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Labour vow to ban fracking sparks industry warning

Labour says fracking incompatible with low-carbon energy policy
People protesting against fracking
Fracking is controversial but industry leaders said Britain needs an energy supply mix

The Labour Party will ban shale gas fracking in the UK if it wins power, but the news prompted a warning from the industry.

Shadow energy secretary Barry Gardiner said Labour in government would stop the practice because it was not compatible with a low-carbon energy policy and efforts to tackle climate change.

"Fracking locks us into an energy infrastructure based on fossil fuels long after our country needs to have moved to clean energy,” the BBC quoted Gardiner as telling the party’s annual conference in Liverpool.

Environmental campaign groups applauded Labour’s announcement, which could affect companies such as IGAS Energy PLC (LON:IGAS) and Egdon Resources Plc (LON:EDR) if the party is elected.

A Greenpeace spokeswoman said: “With opposition to fracking an all-time high across the country, this ban on an unproven and inexperienced industry will be widely welcomed.“

Friends of the Earth (FoE) has also highlighted public opposition to the practice, saying only 33% of people polled in a recent survey would support fracking in their local area even if households were paid up to £10,000 in compensation payments.

But the UK Onshore Oil & Gas (UKOOG) lobby group said shale gas was 15% less carbon-intensive than imported gas.

UKOOG chief executive Ken Cronin said: “If we want to maintain the right of the general public to access heat and power securely, manage climate change and create UK-based jobs then we need to develop renewables, nuclear and natural gas from shale.

“To go for a narrow one-size-fits-all approach will lead to more imports and a detrimental impact on the environment and economy.”

Meanwhile, The Times reported that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has rebuked FoE in a draft ruling about an anti-fracking leaflet.

According to the report, the ASA says FoE failed to substantiate claims that fracking could cause cancer, contaminate water supplies, increase asthma rates and send house prices plummeting.

FoE has reportedly requested more time to challenge the findings.

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