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Fracking Is Acceptable, Says Church of England

Emily Gosden, The Times

The Church of England has concluded that fracking can be morally acceptable in a move that shale gas explorers hope could pave the way for drilling to take place on church land.


After years of internal debate on the issue, the church has published an extensive briefing paper giving cautious support for fracking subject to conditions, including strict regulation, environmental monitoring and compensation for those affected.

It concluded that fracking could be useful to tackle climate change as long as shale gas replaced dirtier energy sources. The position puts it at odds with groups such as Christian Aid, which opposes all fracking on climate grounds.

Energy companies see the views of the church as important because it is a major landowner, with more than 100,000 acres of farmland, including several areas believed to be rich in shale gas. It has already allowed the energy company Aurora to carry out seismic surveys to assess shale gas potential on its land near Ormskirk in Lancashire.

Ineos, the petrochemicals giant with the biggest plans for shale exploration, confirmed that there was also a “significant church presence” as a landowner in the areas it is seeking to explore in North Yorkshire. “We will be speaking to church groups about access to the land when the time is right,” a spokesman said.

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