Camden and Haringey ‘on list of areas government could allow fracking’

Environmental groups are urging Camden and Haringey councils to publicly oppose the controversial practice of “fracking” by pledging to block any attempts to drill in either borough.

The Camden and Haringey branches of Friends of the Earth are calling for firm commitments that the controversial method of extracting underground energy reserves will not be allowed by either council.

The government hopes to open swathes of the country to possible fracking next year and, according to the charity, areas including Hampstead, Highgate and Crouch End are among those which the Department for Energy and Climate Change is considering offering for licensing.

Susan Poupard, of Camden Friends of the Earth, said: “In London licences for drilling have already been issued in the borough of Croydon.

“We don’t want to even get to that stage in Camden, so we’re asking Camden Council to say no to fracking to ensure that licences aren’t given out and drilling doesn’t happen in the borough.”

Tim Root, of Muswell Hill and Hornsey Friends of the Earth, said: “We want Haringey to oppose fracking and we want the Government to get behind renewables and energy saving instead.”

According to the charity, experts have claimed there is no technical obstacle that would stop fracking happening London.

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Mayor of London Boris Johnson has also increased concern, writing in the summer: “If reserves of shale can be exploited in London we should leave no stone unturned, or unfracked, in the cause of keeping the lights on.”

Tony Bosworth, Friends of the Earth energy campaigner, said: “Camden is one of the areas which the government is considering offering for licensing probably next year.

“If an area is licensed, that doesn’t mean it is going to be fracked, it means a company has first refusal on that area but they still have to get planning permission from local councils and things like that.”

A spokesman for Camden Council said: “We have no expectation that people would want to ‘frack’ in Camden. There are no planning policies around this.”