The fracking task force found that carbon capture was necessary in order to frack in the UK in a safe manner

UK fracking crippled by 'absurd' lack of carbon capture support

There is no medium or long-term future for shale gas extraction without carbon capture technology (CCS), according to the industry-backed Task Force on Shale Gas (TFSG).

The government's decision to drop a £1bn competition to develop technology to capture and store carbon emissions from power production underground was described as "absurd" by the body’s chairman Lord Chris Smith.

TFSG has produced a report in which it said that shale gas produced from fracking could be produced "safely and usefully" in the UK, but only if the technology is employed.

The UK recently signed the Paris Agreement which commits to reduce its carbon emission output in order to prevent global temperature rises.

The government has also shown overt support for the fracking industry, such as a recent amendment that allows it to grant permits to fracking projects even if local politicians and councils oppose it.

However, further granting of projects would contradict many of the terms agreed upon in the recently signed agreement in Paris.

"We need to be doing everything we can to create that long term low carbon future", Lord Smith warned. "We need gas for the short term, of course, but it's not a long-term option, particularly not if you don't have CCS. In the medium term, particularly with the commitments made in Paris, we're getting into dangerous territory if you abandon CCS."

"It's absurd what the Government has decided, because it really sets us back," he added.

Lord Smith also raised concerns that the Government was not taking on other recommendations made by the task force in a series of reports, including mandatory requirements to ensure methane emissions do not escape from wells.

Lord Smith said: "If the Government was seriously wanting to get shale gas up and running, they need to make sure they take on all of these concerns. Simply dismissing the concerns is not good enough."

The task force has made a number of recommendations to ensure the industry can go ahead successfully, including ensuring transparency, baseline monitoring of air, land and water and allowing local residents a direct role in monitoring operations in their area.

The final report said exploratory drilling should begin as soon as possible to establish how much shale gas there is and how much of an industry it could create, suggesting it could have the potential to create thousands of jobs.

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