Supporters of fracking in the UK won a mixed victory Monday after the British government agreed to ban unconventional drilling in national parks but rejected calls for a countrywide moratorium.
The government’s fracking ban in national parks reversed a government decision last year that would have allowed drilling in those areas.
“We have agreed an outright ban on fracking in national parks, sites of special interest and areas of natural beauty,” junior energy minister Amber Rudd said during debates.
Government officials said the new rules will only affect sites where drilling was already effectively banned.
Under the new rules companies are required to monitor potential sites for 12 months before drilling.
Landowners must also be notified about fracking projects on their properties.
However, landowners can not protest at drilling sites or block work.
Fracking opponents had called for a total ban, claiming unconventional drilling will disrupt efforts to deal with climate change.
Prime Minister David Cameron said he continues to support expanding the UK’s shale gas industry.
“I want to see unconventional gas properly exploited in our country,” Cameron said.
The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change said the new rules do not differ significantly from policies already on the books.
“[The measures] are already government policy, carried out voluntarily by industry or as part of Environment Agency or HSE every day working practice,” a spokesman for the department told the Russian Times.
In 2013, the British Geological Survey estimated that shale deposits in the UK could supply the country with gas for up to 40 years.