AS feared, rather ambiguous legislation has progressed through the French Assembly which bans the use of 'fracking' to extract shale gas from land across France.
But the legislation does not ban the extraction of shale gas, or gaz de schiste, by other methods if drilling companies are able to prove they can use a different technique.
At the vote in the Assembly, the ruling UMP party and its supporters voted 287 votes to 186, the opposition was made up of the Socialists and Green party members.
The bill still has to go on to the Senat at the beginning of June, while opposition is sure to grow ever more vocal as the legislation leaves plenty of 'wiggle room' for the oil companies.
At present drilling firms will have to produce a report outlining their methods of extraction, saying they will not use the hydraulic fracturing technique, if they fail to do so they will lose their drilling permissions.
But the possibility of corners of France being blighted by drilling platforms and large lorries trundling along roads still exists, but I wonder if next year there will be change.
The two rounds of the presidential election in France take place on April 22 and May 5, 2012, and I wonder if the Socialist candidate, whoever that is likely to be, will make a point of including a ban on shale gas exploration in their manifesto?
There are a lot of votes at stake in the areas of France touched by the issue of shale gas exploration, so it will be interesting to see if it is pushed up the electoral agenda.
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