Report was with ministers in 2015 but only published three years later, days after a key fracking permit was awarded
A UK government report concluding that shale gas extraction increases air pollution was left unpublished for three years and only released four days after ministers approved fracking in Lancashire, it has emerged.
The report, written by the government’s Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG), was given to ministers in 2015, but was published quietly on 27 July. Fracking firm Cuadrilla was given the first permit under a new regulatory regime on 24 July, the final day of the parliamentary year.
The Labour shadow environment secretary, Sue Hayman, said: “The decision to grant a licence to Cuadrilla must urgently be reconsidered.” An earlier government report concluding that fracking could cause nearby house prices to fall by up to 7% was also delayed until after an important planning decision.