Fracking 'can take place in national parks if regulated'

Fracking can take place in national parks because the visual intrusion it causes is minimal and the environmental risks have been exaggerated, the Environment Agency’s outgoing chairman has said.

According to The Times (£), Lord Smith of Finsbury said that provided fracking was properly regulated it would be safe and “very useful” in helping Britain reduce its reliance on imported gas and dirty coal-fired power stations.

The entrance to the Cuadrilla exploratory drilling site in Balcombe, West Sussex Credit: PA

The comments by the former Labour cabinet minister are significant because he is highly respected among environmental groups which oppose fracking.

The National Trust, RSPB, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust and the Angling Trust have called for fracking to be banned in Britain’s 15 national parks.

Read: Law changes to make it easier to frack under homes