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EURO-MPs were yesterday accused of trying to strangle shale gas exploration with red tape.

The European Parliament’s environment committee ruled that all work aiming to identify underground reserves must only be approved following “environmental impact assessments”.

Tory MEP Struan Stevenson claimed the move could stop shale gas extraction schemes — called fracking — in their tracks.

He said: “Targeting exploration in this unnecessary way amounts to stifling the potential benefits at source.

“We must stop this over-zealous attempt to place a dead hand on the process of exploration before it gets going.”

A Sun poll this week found that 71 per cent of Brits back fracking and supporters say it could solve the UK’s looming energy crisis.

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