'The government has heavily redacted a secret report into the fracking industry after it was forced to comply with a court order for its release.
The Whitehall report on the UK shale gas sector emerged on Monday after a years-long battle to uncover the hidden documents – but with three quarters of its pages blacked out. The 48-page report, seen by the Guardian, includes 37 pages that are entirely blacked out and only one – the front cover – that was left uncensored.
The remaining paragraphs outline plans to help frackers by countering the public’s rising public opposition to the industry with a government-led campaign to develop a “pro-shale narrative”.
The report, written in 2016, was finally released after an information tribunal ruled that it would be in the public interest to disclose its findings. Greenpeace has fought a long legal battle with the government over the suppression of the document.
Rebecca Newsom, Greenpeace UK’s head of politics, said: “Looking at this black wall of redacted pages, people will be wondering why there’s so little the government is willing to reveal about fracking and so much it wants to hide.
“If ministers have really dropped their support for this polluting industry, why not publish this report in full and come clean about what’s been going on behind closed doors for years?”
The report’s unredacted paragraphs said that the government was “already undertaking crucial work on communications to increase public acceptability of shale” and promised further government help to develop a “pro-shale national/regional narrative” and “shale champions”.
Greenpeace said the Conservative government should ban fracking permanently after it called an immediate halt to drilling in England this month. The government said it would not agree to any future fracking “until compelling new evidence is provided” that proves fracking could be safe, amid concerns over ground tremors caused by drilling.
“People would feel much more confident about the Conservatives’ pledge on fracking if they used the overwhelming evidence of its unacceptable risks to people and our environment to introduce a permanent ban, and put this industry to bed once and for all,” Newsom said.'
Read more: 'Black wall' of redacted pages as UK fracking report finally released
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