THE GOVERNMENT has been accused of killing the fracking revolution by forcing drilling firms to suspend work over tiny tremors.
It comes after a group of 49 scientists urged ministers to urgently review the fracking earthquake limit
Current rules force fracking firms to stop drilling if tremors reach 0.5 on the Richter scale.
Professor Quentin Fisher, of Leeds University, joined calls to loosen the current threshold in a letter published by The Times on Saturday.
Yesterday he hit out against Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth for spreading “nonsense” claims about the industry.
Prof Fisher told The Sun: “To me it’s totally killing the industry, I find it really difficult to imagine how it can go forward with such low limits.
“The limits are just way below any other industry, both in the UK and equivalent industries abroad.
“The levels at the moment can’t even be felt.”
Ministers have refused to loosen up the current limits amid a wave of protests from anti-fracking campaigners.
Prof Fisher added: “There’s been a lot of really negative publicity from groups such as Greenpeace and Friends Of The Earth who are frankly just telling massive untruths which has scared the local population.
“Talking about things like water pollution when there’s absolutely no chance of it.
“The Environment Agency don’t even let people drill through places where there’s drinking water.
“I think there’s a general scaremongering about seismicity.”
Prof Fisher said Britain could stop relying on the likes of Qatar and Norway for gas imports if the fracking industry is allowed to expand.
Lee Petts, chair of pro-fracking group Lancashire For Shale, said the shale gas industry could potentially create 64,000 jobs and a £33 billion supply chain in the UK.
He added: “All of that is at risk if it’s so constrained that it can’t progress from where it is today to commercial production.
“Our government has got to recognise that.
“Last year the House of Lords select committee produced a report that said post-Brexit the UK could be more vulnerable to energy outages and supply disruption in the event of extreme weather.
“Now is not the time to be holding back a new energy industry that could offset some of those problems and dependency on EU imports.”