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Ministers close to frack deal for widespread UK drilling

‘The Government may offer concessions to Labour when the issue is debated in the Lords next month.

However insiders at the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) believe ministers have already “secured cross-party consensus” and need only negotiate “finer points” of detail to lock down fracking before next year’s general election.

A source close to Energy Minister Matt Hancock said: “We welcome cross-party support for well-regulated shale extraction and will debate the precise details during passage of the legislation. Extracting shale gas is important for our energy security and good for jobs.”

However, shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex, who has admitted shale gas “may have a role to play” in Britain’s future energy needs, warned Labour might yet withhold support.

He told the Sunday Express: “If the Government accept our amendments, there will be much more thorough regulation, but there are other issues.

“The real test for the Government is to move beyond their rhetoric about shale as the silver bullet that will solve all our energy problems.” The opposition says it will not support fracking without transparency about chemicals used in the process, monitoring of groundwater and environmental impact assessments for all drilling sites’

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