Mayor says ‘no’ to fracking in London

26 November 2017

Mayor wants to protect London land sites from ‘harmful’ gas extraction

New draft London Plan recommends refusal of fracking applications

Sadiq committed to protecting the health of Londoners from toxic pollution

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today declared there was no place for ‘harmful’ fracking in the capital.

In a new policy in his draft London Plan – which will be published this week – Sadiq makes clear that any application for the exploration, appraisal or production of shale gas via hydraulic fracturing in London should be refused by boroughs.

Fracking is a controversial means of extracting natural gas from underground shale deposits. It presents a significant public health risk as well as risk of contamination to water supplies.

The construction process can generate toxic Silica dust, which can cause chronic lung damage, as well pollutants, such as VOCs and hydrogen sulphide which can worsen neurological problems ranging from dizziness to seizures. The U.K. Health and Safety Executive estimates that hundreds of people across the country develop lung cancer associated with silica dust exposure.

The sheer volume of water required for fracking could also lead to public water restrictions in areas prone to water shortages, as well as causing wide-ranging disruption to local areas.

There have been reports this year of energy companies identifying potential fracking sites in London. Sadiq made his opposition to fracking clear in his mayoral election manifesto and his commitment is in line with the draft London Plan’s policies on boosting energy efficiency and renewable energy and preventing climate change, tackling London’s lethal air pollution, and protecting water resources.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “There is absolutely no place for fracking in London and I remain firm in my belief that any such application must be refused.

“The harmful, negative impact of the use of fossil fuels on the environment and on the air we breathe is well known. We must instead focus our resources on developing technologies for the efficient extraction of clean, renewable forms of energy, rather than coming up with more ever innovative ways to keeping burning fossil fuels.

“It is my duty to protect the health and wellbeing of Londoners, and it is well documented that the fracking process itself can cause chronic damage to public health, worsen toxic air quality and contaminate water supplies. Clearly, there can be no place for fracking in London.”

Elisabeth Whitebread, energy campaigner for Greenpeace, said: "The Mayor of London should be congratulated for taking such a strong stance against fracking, which as well as being environmentally destructive is also an economic uncertainty and an irrelevance for UK energy security.

“With every nation in the UK other than England opposed to fracking, and major commitments against this polluting industry from both Sadiq Khan and Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, the Westminster government is looking increasingly isolated. It’s time they ditched fracking and got on board with clean renewable technologies that will deliver for our environment and our economy now and in the future."

Rose Dickenson, Friends of the Earth campaigner, said:" It’s a positive move that the Mayor is stating on principle that London should not be fracked.

"Though the focus has been in the North of England where most licences have been obtained, wherever fracking rears its ugly head it is opposed - and rightly so because of the known risks from the process. 

"Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and now London have said no to fracking. When will the Westminster government release the rest of England from its blight?"

The Mayor’s draft Plan will also underline his commitment to London’s green belt and much-loved green spaces. The Mayor is determined to protect the health of Londoners from toxic air pollution that can cause chronic illness and premature death.

His hard-hitting measures include cleaning up the bus and taxi fleet, the introduction of the world’s toughest new emission standard in Central London, the T-Charge, and confirming he will bring in the ULEZ 17 months earlier than originally planned, in ‎April 2019.

Notes to editors

  • The draft London Plan will be published on Wednesday 29th November and the public consultation will run until 1st March 2018.

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