The UK government is reportedly preparing to lift a ban on the controversial shale gas extraction method, called fracking, in a bid to boost production.
According to a report published recently by the Independent, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne could announce the government’s decision to list the ban in his Autumn Statement this week. The paper added that Energy Secretary Ed Davey could also announce tax breaks for companies that perform fracking.
The government had banned the controversial method of fracking after it led to two small earthquakes close to Blackpool, Lancashire, in 2011.
The reported move will allow gas explorers to exploit more than 60 per cent of Britain's countryside for shale gas. The paper said, the government’s decision “will pave the way for a significant increase in shale gas exploration.”
Fracking, which is also called hydraulic fracturing, is a method of drilling into the underground shale rock formations by inserting chemicals and water to liberate natural gas trapped in the rocks.
While opponents criticize the method saying it causes water pollution, energy companies have long been pressing on the government to allow the use of the method arguing that it offers access to huge reserves of natural gas.