Flaring
British MPs have called for a halt to shale gas development in order to meet carbon targetsReuters

A group of British MPs has called for a ban on fracking for shale gas in the UK because it could side line efforts to limit the impact of climate change.

The environmental audit committee said the move to exploit shale gas should be halted amid "huge uncertainties" about the environmental impact of fracking.

In its report, the cross-party committee said fracking for shale was incompatible with UK carbon targets and posed environmental and health risks.

"Ultimately fracking cannot be compatible with our long-term commitments to cut climate-changing emissions unless full-scale carbon capture and storage technology is rolled out rapidly, which currently looks unlikely," said committee chair Joan Walley.

"There are also huge uncertainties around the impact that fracking could have on water supplies, air quality and public health."

Government ministers have maintained that developing the shale gas industry would not affect efforts to curb carbon emissions.

The UK's government has stepped up effort to exploit shale gas in recent years. Extracting the gas involves a process known as hydraulic fracturing, a high-pressure technique that opponents say risks health and environmental impacts that could expedite climate change.

The report warned that a very small amount of UK shale reserves could be exploited if global warming targets were to be met.