France fracking ban absolute - "We need a 21st century energy revolution based on efficiency and renewables, not more fossil fuels that will add to climate change."

France today upheld its nationwide ban on  fracking due to fears the process may cause long-term environmental  damage.

The move follows a number of high-profile  protests against the practice in Britain, where energy firms have been allowed  to undergo exploratory drilling.

Fracking involves injecting a mixture of  water, sand and chemicals into the ground at high pressure to crack shale rock  holding oil and gas reserves deep underground.

Anti-fracking campaigners stage a protest at Balcombe, West Sussex, due to fears  over an exploratory oil drilling plant

Anti-fracking campaigners stage a protest at Balcombe, West Sussex, due to fears  over an exploratory oil drilling plant

But despite efforts by US company Scheupbach  Energy (SE) to start drilling into France's plentiful  reserves, the country's  Constitutional Court today upheld a 2011  moratorium on the process.

Socialist president Francois Hollande is  opposed to fracking, based on the legal concept of ‘precaution’.

He supports environmentalists who link the  practice with a range of problems, including pollution and minor  earthquakes.

Marc Fornacciari, SE’s barrister, told the  Paris court that ‘there is not a single study showing that fracking presents the  slightest risk.’

The Dallas-based company tried to convince  the Constitutional Court that the 2011 ban was discriminatory. But  Thierry-Xavier Girardot, for the French government, argued the environmental  dangers of fracking were ‘sufficiently acknowledged’ to justify a  ban.

SE's permit to explore shale reserves in  Aveyron and Ardeche in the south of France have been revoked, and the new ruling  confirms this.

Anti-fracking protesters set up a camp near  Balcombe, West Sussex, over the summer as energy firm Cuadrilla drilled for  oil.

Cuadrilla has now submitted new plans to  carry out 'flow tests' to determine the rate of extraction at the well after  test-drilling found oil in rock samples.

Fracking has revolutionised the energy  industry in the USA, despite the huge amounts of water that have to be  transported to a fracking site, at huge environmental cost.

There are also fears that potentially  carcinogenic chemicals can escape and contaminate groundwater around the  fracking site. Two small earthquakes of 1.5 and 2.2 magnitude hit the Blackpool  area in 2011 following fracking.

A test drilling site for shale gas near Banks on the outskirts of Southport,  Lancashire, UK

A test drilling site for shale gas near Banks on the outskirts of Southport,  Lancashire, UK

Environmental campaigners further argue that  fracking is preventing energy firms and governments from investing in renewable  sources of energy, and encouraging continued reliance on fossil  fuels.

Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Tony  Bosworth said: ‘We need a 21st century energy revolution based on efficiency and  renewables, not more fossil fuels that will add to climate change.’

Article link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2454156/France-upholds-ban-fracking-fears-environmental-damage-shale-gas-reserves.html