THE British Government has just launched a new bidding round for fracking licences which covers around half of the UK, and has smoothed the legal regulation and reduced the potential for costly legal challenges.

It has even created an undefined loophole of “exceptional circumstances” to pump toxic chemicals into our National Parks. I remember that David Cameron has pledged that Britain would go “all out” for shale gas.

On Wednesday, the public German Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) published an advisory opinion on oil and gas extraction through fracking. Its core message: at the moment Germany should abstain from fracking for gas extraction, until the risks are better explored and there is a comprehensive legal regulation. And even then, the technique should be used only under very strict conditions.

The UBA President Maria Krautzberger said “As long as there are significant risks of this technology that cannot yet be predicted with certainty and mastered, there should be no fracking in Germany to extract shale and coalbed methane.”

It is interesting to see which double standards are applied by different governments when it comes to calculating a risk for the health of their subjects and the environment.

Lars Kramm, Leven Road, Dringhouses, York.