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Ed Davey: 'Crazy' Conservatives would 'frack every bit of croquet lawn'

"They make these ridiculous ideas, not backed by any evidence, that something [fracking] will transform the British economy and massively reduce prices," he told Carbon Brief, a website that reports climate science and policy.

Writing in the Telegraph in 2013, Mr Cameron also appeared to show support for fracking across the UK, pointing out that oil and gas drilling had been taking place in the South Downs National Park since the eighties.

Despite enthusiastic support for fracking from some elements of the Conservative Party there has also been growing opposition from some Tory backbenchers, resulting in the Government conceding greater restrictions on the process - including a ban on it taking place in National Parks.

Mr Davey also indicated he was happy with the slow pace of shale gas development in the UK, which has seen no wells fracked since a ban on the practice was lifted in 2012.

"The biggest criticism that I get is that I have not gone faster, the biggest criticism that I get is that I'm regulating too much," he said. "I'm very happy to have that criticism."

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So far only one company, Cuadrilla, has submitted planning applications to frack. Lancashire council's votes on the plans have been delayed until the eve of the general election, after planning officials initially recommended refusal over noise concerns.

Cuadrilla has since vowed to spend £5m on making its fracking quieter, but faces an uphill battle to gain the support of Lancashire councillors who appear increasingly hostile.

The councillors last week threw out an application from Cuadrilla to carry out seismic monitoring at another site, and have also written to Defra demanding it publish the full version of a highly redacted report into the impacts of fracking on house prices.


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