1. ITV Report

European Parliament fails to 'ban fracking'

Balcombe where energy company Cuadrilla Resources has permission to conduct exploratory drilling using the controversial "fracking" process. Photo: PA

Rules to control shale gas exploitation do not go far enough, Sussex MEP Catherine Bearder has said today.

On Wednesday, the Liberal Democrat politician voted to support a call to member states to ban new fracking operations in the European Union, but the amendment was rejected by other MEPs.

It came after residents living near Balcombe, in West Sussex, wrote to her voicing their concern over plans to drill in the area.

Fracking involves pumping water and chemicals into shale rock at high pressure to extract gas. The process sparked two earth tremors in Blackpool last year.

However, EU member states have been warned to be "cautious" about allowing further exploitation of unconventional fossil fuels.

Mrs Bearder said: “It is clear we must invest in uncovering new forms of energy, that we must look to the raft of clean, green, sustainable and, importantly, safe forms of energy supply.

“I would have gone to greater lengths and banned new operations.

“However, if shale gas exploitation is going to happen in the UK, then it must happen using the best techniques and environmentally-friendly process available.

“And, I should add, the investment in infrastructure should be entirely covered by the industry.”

On Tuesday, the parliament at Strasbourg was told domestic gas production in Europe would decline, as demand continued to grow.

Special plans were also demanded for hydraulic fracking, which included recycling as much of the water used as possible.

Companies will also be told they must disclose chemicals used in the process.

An amendment urging member states not authorise new fracking operations was rejected by 391 votes to 262, with 37 abstentions.