REINTRODUCING fracking to the UK “would not do anything” to reduce reliance on gas, the Government has been warned.

Ministers were urged on Tuesday afternoon to end the pause on fracking which has existed in England since 2019 after an earthquake was caused in Lancashire that year by the practice.

The SNP’s energy spokesperson Alan Brown (below) said reintroducing shale gas extraction into the UK’s energy mix would be a mistake.

The National:

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He said: “Now is not the time for knee-jerk reactions given we’ve got an energy crisis. Now is the time to stay strategic and not make daft decisions.”

Despite confirming the controversial practice – which has been effectively banned in Scotland since 2015 – would remain paused in England, the business minister Greg Hands told MPs “we need to keep all of our energy options open”.

He said: “We have always been clear that the development of shale gas in the UK must be safe and cause minimal disruption and damage to those living and working nearby sites.”

“This is not a new position. Shale gas and new approaches could be part of our future energy mix but we need to be led by the science and have the support of local communities.”

Ian Duncan Smith, a former Tory leader, called on the Government to avoid a “new religion” of opposition to fossil fuels.

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In response to Hands’s assertion communities would be consulted on whether they would approve of fracking taking place near them, Duncan Smith said: “If we want to ask somebody, ask them whether they feel like their gas price should be rising at the rate they are, or whether they like lower gas prices.”

It comes after the head of Cuadrilla, the only firm in the UK which carried out fracking before the pause, called for the Government to restart shale gas extraction in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Chief executive Francis Egan told the BBC the Government should not seal off the only two UK wells, which are located in Little Plumpton, Lancashire.

The Oil and Gas Authority has ordered Cuadrilla to fill in the wells.

Nathan Piper, head of oil and gas research at Investec told MPs on Monday that energy prices could rise by 50% from October.