Drilling for shale gas could breach the UK’s carbon budget, the Committee on Climate Change has warned.

The committee, which was setup under the 2008 Climate Change Act to provide independent advice to the UK and devolved governments, has published a new report that says emissions from shale exploitation would need to be offset by reductions in emissions from other areas of the economy to ensure UK carbon budgets are met.

Emissions of methane during shale gas extraction would need to be strictly limited.

The production of UK shale gas must also displace imports, rather than increase gas consumption.

Environmentalists mount legal challenge against Yorkshire fracking decision

News of the committee’s report came as environmental campaigners launched a legal challenge to North Yorkshire County Council’s decision to allow hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” – to take place in Ryedale near the North York Moors National Park.

Friends of the Earth has applied to the High Court for a judicial review of the decision.

Simon Bowens, a campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said: “Shale gas is a dirty fossil fuel and it is the responsibility of North Yorkshire County Council to require a full assessment of the impact this fracking application would have on the climate.

“They failed to do that and this is why we believe the courts need to consider the way that this decision was arrived at by seven councillors in May.”

> Download the committee's report