Just one week after Scotland announced its moratorium on fracking, the Welsh government voted on Wednesday to block the toxic method of shale gas extraction until it is proven safe from environmental and public health standpoints.
The Plaid Cymru political party’s motion calls for control over fracking to be fully devolved from Westminster—seat of the U.K. government—to the National Assembly for Wales. In addition, it “calls on the Welsh Government to do everything within its power to prevent fracking from taking place in Wales until it is proven to be safe in both an environmental and public health context.”
“The Westminster Government needs to catch up with Scotland, Wales, and many other areas of the world and bring in a moratorium on controversial fracking.”
—Donna Hume, Friends of the Earth
In advance of the vote, the Welsh government had confirmed it would support the opposition party’s motion.
“It’s a historic day,” North Wales assembly member Llyr Gruffyd, of the Plaid Cymru party. “This is a clear statement from the National Assembly for Wales that we want a frack-free Wales.”
Friends of the Earth UK has noted that fracking increases greenhouse gas emissions, risks environmental damage, and won’t create the jobs in Wales that the industry promises.
Gareth Clubb, director of Friends of the Earth Cymru, said he was “delighted” by Wednesday’s news. “We look forward to the Welsh government using all the powers it currently has under planning and environmental permitting to make sure that unconventional gas extraction does not take place in Wales,” he said.
Last week, a Welsh official from Swansea called on the Council of Europe to support a moratorium on fracking across the continent.
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