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Prior to commencing fracking operations, an operator would have to obtain a number of permissions, including planning permission from the local authority. A local authority must notify the local community of, and seek views on, each planning application. As a final step, the operator would also need to obtain a Hydraulic Fracturing Consent from the Government.

In November 2019, the Government said it would stop issuing Hydraulic Fracturing Consents, effectively placing a moratorium on fracking. It based this decision on a report that found it was not possible to accurately predict the probability or magnitude of earthquakes linked to fracking operations.

On 22 September 2022, the Truss administration lifted this moratorium on fracking. It said fracking could take place where there was “local consent”.

On 26 October 2022, the Sunak administration readopted a presumption against issuing Hydraulic Fracturing Consents. It said this “effective moratorium” would remain in place until “compelling” evidence that addressed concerns on the links of fracking to earthquakes emerged.


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