[Image of test drilling site in Woodburn, Northern Ireland, CC courtesy of Gareth Clubb https://www.flickr.com/photos/60900922@N06/]
Pressure is growing for a full and permanent ban on unconventional gas extraction in Wales, following confirmation that licencing for onshore oil and gas will be devolved under the draft Wales Bill. Meanwhile there is some confusion as to whether or not existing licences are expiring shortly, with seven licences in southern Wales apparently coming to the end of their licencing period.
Environmental campaigners Friends of the Earth Cymru are calling for a full ban on unconventional gas to be implemented and for no further licences to be issued in Wales.
Director of Friends of the Earth Cymru, Gareth Clubb, said:
“Fracking and coal bed methane are some of the most radically unpopular methods of fossil fuel extraction ever visited on communities in the UK. People rightly rise up to resist these extractive, polluting companies wherever they pop up.
“So it’s good news that these licences are being devolved to Wales. It means that the people of Wales will be able to rest easier in the knowledge that Welsh politicians - fully committed to opposing unconventional gas - will be in control.
“However there’s still the problem of existing licences. Without a ban, communities remain under the fear of massive industrial development, pollution and heavy traffic right on their doorstep - even for test drilling.
“The Welsh Government needs to act now to show the people of Wales that it wants to tread a different path from the dark fossil fuel days of the past. A renewable future, powered by wind, waves and sun, beckons”.