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New fracking laws put wildlife at needless risk, says RSPB

Last modified: 16 December 2015

Ox-eye daisies at RSPB Langford Lowfields nature reserve

New laws allow fracking underneath Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Image: Ben Hall

The RSPB has expressed its disappointment following the announcement of new legislation that allows fracking beneath protected areas in England.

Reacting to today’s announcement Martin Harper, RSPB Conservation Director, said: “We are concerned and disappointed to see today’s legislation voted through. These new laws will allow fracking 1200m beneath Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Given that we’re dealing with a brand new industry, with very little research to point to, the RSPB believes it would be in the best interests of people and nature to ban fracking entirely within and beneath these important sites and other protected areas.” 

The RSPB is concerned that there is no clear evidence of what a safe depth is beneath these sites to protect water and wildlife. Permitting drilling beneath them could encourage fracking wells to be located nearby, with associated noise, light and chemical pollution posing a risk to wildlife. 

Martin added: “Government’s consultation on plans to ban fracking at the surface in protected areas was a step in the right direction – although it remains a job half done. Today’s decision, permitting the extraction of gas and oil beneath these sites, exposes nature to needless risk.” 

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