September 26, 2016 / 10:05 AM / 3 years ago

Labour says will ban fracking if elected

The IGas Energy exploratory gas drilling site is seen at at Barton Moss near Manchester in northern England January 13, 2014. REUTERS/Phil Noble

LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) - The Labour Party pledged on Monday to ban fracking if elected in 2020, putting it at odds with the Conservative government and raising the risk for investors looking to put money into the nascent industry.

“Fracking locks the UK into an energy infrastructure that is based on fossil fuels long after our country needs to have moved to renewables,” said Barry Gardiner, Labour’s energy and climate change spokesman.

He told the party’s annual conference in the northwestern city of Liverpool that a Labour government would focus on developing a low carbon energy industry.

Britain is estimated to have substantial amounts of shale gas trapped in underground rocks yet fracking applications have struggled to find approval from local communities, concerned about noise and environmental impacts.

The industry has the full backing of Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May who in August said some tax proceeds from shale gas developments could be given directly to residents, to try to help win public support for private sector investment.

Britain is not scheduled to hold a national election until 2020. But Labour say Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, which forced David Cameron to resign as prime minister, will push his successor May to call one sooner.

May has said she has no need to do so.

Reporting by William James, editing by Elizabeth Piper

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