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UK bans fracking just weeks before national election

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A police officer moves a protester outside the Houses of Parliament during a demonstration against fracking, in London, Britain, October 31, 2018
A police officer moves a protester outside the Houses of Parliament during a demonstration against fracking, in London, Britain, October 31, 2018
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The UK is to put a temporary halt on fracking. Boris Johnson's government says it's because the industry causes earth tremors which are too disruptive to local communities.

Fracking involves extracting gas from rocks by breaking them up with water and chemicals at high pressure.

It's controversial and has been fiercely opposed by environmentalists. They say it is at odds with Britain's commitment to reach "net zero" carbon emissions by 2050.

Boris Johnson's government had previously signalled its support for fracking as it wants to reduce imports of natural gas, which is used to heat around 80% of Britain's homes.

The policy U-turn comes just before a national election is due to be held on December 12th.

Whilst acknowledging the huge potential of UK shale gas to provide a bridge to a zero-carbon future, I’ve also always been clear that shale gas exploration must be carried out safely. In the UK, we have been led by the best available scientific evidence, and closely regulated by the Oil and Gas Authority, one of the best regulators in the world," said business and energy minister Andrea Leadsom.

"After reviewing the OGA’s report into recent seismic activity at Preston New Road, it is clear that we cannot rule out future unacceptable impacts on the local community.

"For this reason, I have concluded that we should put a moratorium on fracking in England with immediate effect."

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