The Government has agreed to an outright ban on fracking in national parks and to tougher regulation, but seen off other changes to a controversial bill.
Ministers won a series of votes at report stage on the Infrastructure Bill by big majorities, including a backbench attempt to place a moratorium on further fracking taking place.
Energy Minister Amber Rudd told MPs the Government will be "effectively removing" the condition of allowing shale gas exploration in national parts in exceptional circumstances, in an apparent concession.
Lewes MP Norman Baker, Liberal Democrat, had introduced an amendment on the issue and challenged Ms Rudd over it during the debate in the Commons yesterday.
Ms Rudd replied: "Can I just add to my earlier comment that we have agreed an outright ban on fracking in national parks, sites of special interest and areas of national beauty.
"I hope that will reassure you about the liability potential for any of the areas that I know that you are particularly keen to protect."
Speaking to The Argus after the debate, Mr Baker said he was pleased about the concession, which could potentially protect vast areas in Sussex such as the South Downs national park.
But he accused Labour of wasting time to avert a vote around whether fracking companies should be allowed to drill under homes without owners’ permission.
He added: “People need to ask the Labour party why they did not want to vote on that.”
Mr Baker, along with Green MP Caroline Lucas and Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd, voted for a moratorium on fracking, but it was defeated 308 to 52 after Labour did not take part.
Ms Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said the debate on the bill was “farcical”, adding: “So little time was given that we weren’t even able to bring the trespass amendment to vote.
“That amendment sought to prevent fracking companies being awarded sweeping new powers to frack beneath your home without your consent – a move opposed by 99% of respondents to the Government’s own consultation. It was backed in a petition by 360,000 people.”
She continued: “The strength of public feeling on this issue is palpable – and I think it’s intensified still further in the face of the astonishing lack of transparency, lack of accountability and lack of regard for the views of voters. People won’t be silenced on this.”