Rees-Mogg outlines local support requirement for fracking as Labour forces motion calling for ban

Business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg has tabled an amendment to a forced vote from the labour party on banning fracking that would see a public consultation on the practice launched.

A number of Conservative MPs oppose fracking, according to the BBC, but in a message to all MPs on Wednesday morning deputy chief whip Craig Whittaker reportedly said the fracking motion is “100% hard three-line whip”. He said: “I know this is difficult for some colleagues, but we simply cannot allow this”.

According to reports, MPs have been told to support the government or face being “expelled from the parliamentary party”.

The government has since tabled its own amendment in response to the vote, which will be held at around 7pm today according to the Guardian, which promises a “robust system of local consent”.

Multiple planning authorities in the North of England have voiced concerns about fracking, and held motions of their own. Trafford council opted to reject fracking in the area and called on neighbouring councils in Greater Manchester and the North West to do the same.

Cheshire East Council held a full council meeting today as multiple areas in Cheshire East have geological conditions deemed suitable for shale gas extraction. The proposal was that Cheshire East Council does not support any activity associated with fracking on land it owns, leases or manages, and its planning policies be updated to deter this activity. The council also proposes local MPs are lobbied to support this position.

Councillor Nick Mannion who brought the motion, told ENDS said that Labour’s call for the motion to ban fracking “came out of the blue” but that the wording of his motion is not to stop fracking in the area necessarily, but ensure they are supporting local people.

Cheshire West and Chester Council's full council will be discussing an agenda item on fracking on 20 October.

Wealden District Council (WDC) leader Ann Newton, who also holds the portfolio for planning, has said that, although as a consultee only, WDC will not support fracking under its current administration. Newton is a conservative councillor, the party holding majority control over this council.

Last week, Fylde Council in Lancashire, which represents the area with the only two shale gas wells in Britain, voted unanimously for the government to stick to its 2019 fracking ban commitments and clarify how local consent will be gained.

READ MORE: Conservative council demands Truss stick to no fracking manifesto pledge

The moratorium on fracking was put in place in November 2019 by Boris Johnson’s government after multiple earth tremors were experienced in the Fylde Council area near Cuadrilla’s active fracking site in Preston New Road.

The Conservative Party said in its 2019 election manifesto that it would not lift the ban “unless the science shows categorically that it can be done safely”. However, Truss lifted the ban on fracking within a month of becoming prime minister in September.

READ MORE: To frack or not to frack: What do the experts say?