A Cumbrian MP has said the Government should be ashamed of its decision to allow shale gas extraction in the UK’s national parks.

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale and leader of the Liberal Democrats, fears the process – known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking – could now happen under the Lake District.

He accused the Government of using a parliamentary “wheeze” to ease the rules on fracking without a debate in the House of Commons.

Tim Farron Last week, said the MP, the Government signed up to a landmark climate change deal and it was now “abandoning those pledges” to create a market for another fossil fuel.

He said: “Our national parks and areas of scientific interest are now at risk and the Government should hang its head in shame.

“It’s disgraceful the Government are ploughing ahead with fracking at the same time as scrapping the Carbon Capture and Storage scheme which is important for mitigating against climate change.”

The MP said it would be a “travesty” if fracking was allowed to ruin beautiful UK scenery such as that in the Lake District for short-term profit.

A Cumbria County Council spokesman said there is so little shale in the county it was unlikely the area would be of commercial interest to fracking firms.

There are only relatively small shale deposits beneath a narrow strip of land which straddles the northern end of the Lake District Park.

MPs this week approved the move to allow fracking under national parks by 298 votes to 261, prompting critics of the process to accuse the Government of making a policy U-turn following an earlier pledge to ban it outright beneath the UK’s national parks.