The Government has today conceded an outright ban on fracking in National Parks, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Last year Ministers said that the controversial technique could be allowed in such areas only in "exceptional circumstances". But in something of a u-turn they have now fallen into line with environmental groups, Labour and the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), who had all pressed for them to go further and prevent it altogether.
'There are ...huge uncertainties around the impact that fracking could have on water supplies, air quality and public health' said EAC chair Joan Walley MP.
Though backbench proposals for a full moratorium on fracking were voted down in the Commons today, the Government was forced to agreed to Labour proposals for 13 new environmental conditions to be met before it can take place. And protected areas will remain frack-free.
'We cannot allow Britain's national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty to be developed into oil and gas fields' said Joan Walley.