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Fracking industry: Hard to understand Minister's approach

The body representing the fracking industry says "it is hard to understand why anyone wouldn't want to listen to arguments in favour of developing natural gas from shale."

The Welsh Planning Minister Carl Sargeant earlier said he would be putting an immediate moratorium on fracking here - stopping any local planning authority approving any planning application for fracking.

Read More: Labour Party pledges to devolve fracking powers to Wales

It is hard to understand why anyone, particularly a Minister in charge of the development of Natural Resources, would not want to listen to the scientific evidence and economic arguments in favour developing of natural gas from shale.

Last year the Welsh Affairs committee said ‘shale gas offers a wealth of potential benefits for Wales, in terms of energy supply, economic benefits and employment’ and a recent report by EY stated that shale gas has the possibility to create 64,000 quality jobs in the UK, a significant proportion of which are likely to be in Wales.

– Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of UK Onshore Oil & Gas

Labour Party pledges to devolve fracking powers

The Labour Party says it would devolve powers over fracking to Wales if it wins the general election.

The move would give the Welsh Government the right to halt controversial plans to look for shale gas proposed in North East Wales and the Vale of Glamorgan.

In the meantime, Welsh Planning Minister Carl Sargeant will put an immediate moratorium on fracking here.

He said: "to my mind there are still uncertainties about the technology and processes associated with it. I will now be strengthening that position and stopping any local planning authority approving any planning application for fracking."

Fracking is the extraction of gas from injecting high pressure water and chemicals into rock.

Speaking ahead of Welsh Labour's annual conference in Swansea this weekend, Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith said: "Labour is taking decisive action to give Wales, and communities right across the UK the powers they need to develop the right safeguards and policies for the future.”

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Plaid doubts Welsh Govt's call for parity with Scots

Despite Carwyn Jones' position that Wales should be offered all the extra powers being given to Scotland, Plaid Cymru's claiming that the Welsh Government isn't even actively seeking the power over fracking that Scotland already has.

The people of Wales should have the power to decide on licensing for fracking in their communities. Plaid Cymru wants Wales to have responsibility over fracking so that we can introduce a moratorium on a process that carries a host of unknown risks for the environment and public health. The Scottish Government has made this happen there, but unfortunately the Welsh Government has done absolutely nothing to stand up for Wales’ interests.

It is now clear that the Labour Government has not made any representations to the UK Government for these powers to be devolved which suggests that Labour sees no need to challenge Westminster’s policy of promoting and encouraging fracking in Wales.

– Llyr Gruffydd AM, Plaid Cymru

Anti-fracking protest gets underway

Protest gets underway at the Senedd Credit: ITV Wales/Nicola Hendy
Environmental groups Friends of the Earth Cymru and Frack Free Wales have organised the event Credit: ITV Wales/Nicola Hendy

An anti-fracking demonstration is taking place outside of the Senedd, as part of co-ordinated anti-fracking protests around the world.

Environmental groups Friends of the Earth Cymru and Frack Free Wales are organising the event.

In a statement, a Welsh Government spokesperson said:

"We are committed to ensuring that the economy and people of Wales benefit from energy developments. The evidence currently available is insufficient to determine whether gas from hydrocarbons in Wales can contribute to the future energy mix and provide benefits to the people of Wales. This will only be determined through further exploration and research."

– Welsh Government spokesperson

Anti-fracking demonstration to take place in Cardiff

Fracking is controversial in Wales and across the UK. Credit: PA

An anti-fracking demonstration is to take place outside the Senedd later as part of co-ordinated anti-fracking protests around the world.

Environmental groups Friends of the Earth Cymru and Frack Free Wales are organising the event in the Welsh capital, which will get underway from midday.

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Anti-frackers encourage Cardiff public to sign petition

Friends of the Earth Cymru are holding an event in Cardiff encouraging people to show opposition to so-called 'fracking' in Wales.

It's one of 18 events taking place all over Wales.

Events are taking place all over Wales

The organisation says more than a million people in Wales live in areas at risk from the process used to exploit gas and oilf rom shale rock.

There have already been a number of applications for test drillings in Wales
Environmentalists fear it can cause small earth tremors, water contamination and environmental damage

'Fracking' involves drilling down before fracturing layers of rock using a pressurised liquid.

A report last month says shale gas represents an opportunity for Wales, but that it must not come at the expense of Wales's natural environment.

Anti-fracking events to get underway across Wales

Anti-fracking street stalls and events are taking place across Wales today, with thousands of people expected to join environmental groups demanding that the Welsh Government bans the drilling process.

Fracking is seen as a controversial way to extract shale gas. Credit: ITV News Wales

Friends of the Earth say over a million people in Wales live in areas at risk from the process used to extract shale gas.

They say more should be done to cut energy waste and develop Wales' potential to find cleaner energy sources.

However, The Welsh Government say appropriate safeguards are in place to protect the environment in regards to dealing with natural gas and minerals.

Vivienne Westwood on anti-fracking campaign

Dame Vivienne Westwood is a committed anti-fracking campaigner Credit: Press Association Images

The designer, Dame Vivienne Westwood, is attending an event in Swansea later today called 'We need to talk about fracking.' It's part of a nationwide tour following on from an open letter printed in the Times and signed by over 150 celebrities and scientists calling for more debate on fracking.

There are reserves of shale gas in parts of south Wales and licences for exploratory drilling have already been granted by several councils. The UK government supports the extraction saying it could reduce energy bills and create thousands of jobs.

Fracking - short for "hydraulic fracturing" - involves drilling deep underground and releasing a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals to crack rocks and release gas stored inside.

Environmentalists fear it can cause small earth tremors, water contamination and environmental damage.

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