Roger Abbott

Liberal Democrat Candidate for Dorking Rural Division Learn more

Tough regulation of fracking

by Mike Ward on 8 February, 2015

Liberal Democrat MP’s are working hard to ensure that if fracking is allowed, it is done only under the tightest possible conditions and with full regard for the environment and the safety of water supplies. It’s a complex subject which makes it all the more important that people are prepared to go into the necessary detail. As an example I attach below commentary from Lib Dem MP Adrian Sanders:

After a long days haggling, negotiating, debating and voting we have reformed the Infrastructure Bill so that no fracking can take place:
• unless an environmental impact assessment has been carried out;
• unless independent inspections are carried out of the integrity of wells
used;
• unless monitoring has been undertaken on the site over the previous 12
month period;
• unless site-by-site measurement, monitoring and public disclosure of
existing and future fugitive emissions is carried out;
• in land which is located within the boundary of a groundwater source
protection zone;
• within or under protected areas;
• in deep-level land at depths of less than 1,000 metres;
• unless planning authorities have considered the cumulative impact of
hydraulic fracturing activities in the local area;
• unless a provision is made for community benefit schemes to be provided
by companies engaged in the extraction of gas and oil rock;
• unless residents in the affected area are notified on an individual basis;
• unless substances used are subject to approval by the Environment
Agency
• unless land is left in a condition required by the planning authority, and
• unless water companies are consulted by the planning authority.

The purpose of these conditions is to ensure that shale gas exploration and extraction can only proceed with appropriate regulation and comprehensive monitoring and to ensure that any activity is consistent with climate change obligations and local environmental considerations.

A complete ban until we can store carbon safely and efficiently would have been my preference but not enough MPs were likely to support such a move as proved when only 35 MPs voted to delay any extraction for period of time.

What we have achieved though is fairly amazing by signing amendments and standing firm thus forcing the Government to concede an opposition new clause to the bill with the above conditions laid down.
There’s hopefully some more amendments to be made in the House of Lords adding further protections.

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