The UK government said on Thursday it will lift a moratorium on shale gas exploration in England as the nation looks to bolster its energy security in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Conservative administration led by Prime Minister Liz Truss formally ended the pause — in place since 2019 — with a promise to consider applications to carry out the controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, “where there is local support”.

Business & Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “In light of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and weaponisation of energy, strengthening our energy security is an absolute priority, and… we are going to ensure the UK is a net energy exporter by 2040.