Labour bids to strengthen fracking regulations

Published on Wednesday, 27 August 2014 09:29
Written by Govtoday staff

The Labour party has tabled amendments to the infrastructure bill in the House of Lords to tighten existing regulations for shale gas extraction in the UK.

This comes after Tom Greatrex MP, Labour's shadow energy minister, published six conditions for shale gas extraction in May 2012. Despite persistent campaigning from Greatrex and Caroline Flint MP, shadow secretary of state for energy and climate change, the Tory-led government has ignored Labour's calls to tighten regulation for shale gas extraction.

The amendments would require well-by-well disclosure of the frack fluid, baseline monitoring of methane levels in the groundwater and Environmental Impact Assessments for all fracking sites and the inclusion of water companies as statutory consultees in the planning process. In addition, all baseline monitoring will have to take place over a 12 month period.

Greatrex, commenting on Labour's shale gas regulation amendments, said: "Shale gas extraction must only be permitted to happen in the UK with robust regulation and comprehensive monitoring. Too often, David Cameron's government have ignored genuine and legitimate environmental concerns in pursuit of a rhetoric-led policy.

"More must be done to meet the public acceptability test on shale and other unconventional gas if it is to be an alternative to imported LNG from Qatar. People need to have confidence that the regulatory framework protects their health and the environment.

"Since March 2012, Labour have set out the regulatory conditions that need to be put in place - it is high time that David Cameron's government acted and put the right regulations in place.

"Labour is pushing the government to close a number of loopholes in the current regulation and put existing good practice onto a statutory footing. We will force companies to publicly disclose what chemicals are used in shale gas extraction and to ensure that environmental impact assessments are conducted at all sites. Anyone looking to extract shale gas in the UK will also be required to conduct baseline assessments over 12 months, setting an accurate standard by which we can identify any impact on the local environment.

"With eight out of 10 homes still reliant on gas for heating, and with declining North Sea gas reserves, shale may have a role to play in displacing imported gas. The type of relentless hype from many Tories not only overplays the likely impact of shale, but also leaves many feeling their concerns have not been properly addressed."

Source: Labour party

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