Jacob Rees-Mogg claims fracking opponents are funded by the Kremlin
But in a written statement to MPs on Thursday, Mr Rees-Mogg suggested that the risk of further earthquakes was worth taking, and that more data could be collected when drilling resumes. “While HM Government will always try to limit disturbance to those living and working near to sites, tolerating a higher degree of risk and disturbance appears to us to be in the national interest given the circumstances described above,” he said.
“With this in mind, it is important that the policy relating to shale gas extraction reflects this.”
The announcement was opposed by several Tory MPs in the Commons chamber.
Sir Greg Knight said: “Is it not the case that forecasting the occurrence of seismic events as a result of fracking remains a challenge to the experts?
“Is it not, therefore, creating a risk of an unknown quantity to pursue shale gas exploration at the present time?
“Is he aware the safety of the public is not a currency in which some of us choose to speculate?”
Mark Menzies, a Lancashire Tory MP, said ministers must set out how they will obtain local consent from fracking if Ms Truss is a “woman of her word”.
Mr Rees-Mogg said that while he did not have a “formal thing” to announce about local consent, fracking companies will be asked to provide compensation packages for those who live near their sites.
“We should not be ashamed of paying people who are going to be the ones who don’t get the immediate benefit of the gas but have the disruption,” he said.
He added: “The hysteria about seismic activity, I think, fails to understand that the Richter scale is a logarithmic scale.
“This (fracking) is of such importance, and it is sheer ludditery that opposes it.”