The Dutch government said on Friday it would ban shale gas drilling for five years and not renew existing exploration licences due to uncertainties about the environmental impact.
The decision comes as the Netherlands steps up its search for alternative energy sources in the wake of shrinking domestic natural gas supplies and strains in its relationship with major energy supplier Russia.
“There will be no shale gas drilling during this government period,” a statement said. At the end of 2015 the government will decide on the role of shale gas in the country’s long-term energy mix.
“It is still unclear how much shale gas there is and if its extraction would be financially feasible,” it said. “Research shows that there is uncertainty about the effect shale gas extraction would have.”