David Cameron: Fracking Must Start By End Of Year

  • Date: 26/03/14
  • Peter Dominiczak, The Daily Telegraph

David Cameron says Britain has a “duty” to frack in the wake of the Ukraine crisis and pledges to have shale gas wells “up and running” in the UK by the end of this year.

Britain has a “duty” to embrace fracking in the wake of the Ukraine crisis, David Cameron has said, as he accused opponents of shale gas exploration of not “understanding” the issue properly.

The Prime Minister said that Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea should be a “wake up call” and that European countries must become less reliant on Russian gas.

There is growing concern that European leaders are unable to put sufficient pressure on Mr Putin over the crisis in Ukraine because they are so dependent on Russia for energy supplies.

Asked whether it is now “our duty to ensure that we are more energy independent by embracing fracking”, the Prime Minister said: “Yes I think it is. Something positive should come out of this for Europe which is to take a long hard look at its energy resilience, and its energy independence.”

“Britain is not reliant on Russian gas to any extent, it’s a few percentage points of our gas intake,” Mr Cameron said. “But the variety around Europe is very, very wide. Some countries are almost 100 per cent reliant on Russian gas so I think it is something of a wake up call and I think action will be taken.”

Fracking, which involves fracturing rocks deep underground with water and chemicals to extract natural gas, has dramatically cut energy bills in the USA.

Ministers are hoping that it could do the same in the UK. However, the process led to protests last year in West Sussex.

Barack Obama this week used a summit in the Netherlands to press Mr Cameron and other European Union leaders to impose tougher sanctions on Russia over Mr Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.

Officials believe that Britain can learn from the speed with which America has embraced fracking.

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