Mayor says ‘no’ to fracking in London

24 November 2017

‘Harmful’ fracking has no place in London, Mayor Sadiq Khan said today.

Fracking is a controversial method of extracting natural gas from underground shale rock deposits that can pose a threat to public health and risk contaminating water supplies.

The anti-fracking policy is contained within the Mayor’s draft London Plan, a broad plan to shape the way the capital develops over the next 20-25 years.

It comes in response to reports of energy companies identifying potential fracking sites in London.

“There is absolutely no place for fracking in London and I remain firm in my belief that any such application must be refused,” Sadiq said.

“It is my duty to protect the health and wellbeing of Londoners, and it is well documented that the fracking process itself can cause chronic damage to public health, worsen toxic air quality and contaminate water supplies,” he said.  

The UK’s Health and Safety Executive estimates that hundreds of people across the country develop lung cancer associated with silica dust exposure, which can occur during fracking. Pollutants such as VOCs and hydrogen sulphide, meanwhile, can worsen neurological problems ranging from dizziness to seizures.

“The harmful, negative impact of the use of fossil fuels on the environment and on the air we breathe is well known,” the Mayor said. “We must instead focus our resources on developing technologies for the efficient extraction of clean, renewable forms of energy, rather than coming up with more ever innovative ways to keeping burning fossil fuels.”

There are also fears that the volume of water required in fracking could lead to public water restrictions in areas prone to shortages.

“It’s a positive move that the Mayor is stating on principle that London should not be fracked,” Rose Dickinson, a Friends of the Earth campaigner, said.

"Though the focus has been in the North of England where most licences have been obtained, wherever fracking rears its ugly head it is opposed - and rightly so because of the known risks from the process.”

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