Government releases heavily redacted fracking report after court order

The Cabinet Office has belatedly complied with a court order to publish a secret report on fracking written in 2016 that shows industry actors were more pessimistic about large-scale fracking in the UK than they had said in public.

The report, which a Greenpeace investigative journalist had requested through freedom of information rules, is heavily redacted, with 37 out of 48 pages completely blacked out. 

It nevertheless casts doubt on industry claims that more than 30 wells could be operational by 2020. 

“Assessing industry’s latest plans and assuming that the current status quo (esp. long local planning timelines) broadly persists suggests that by mid 2020, the UK shale industry will still be firmly in the exploration and appraisal phase,” reads the document. 

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