Amber Rudd, the Energy Secretary, said “There is a big, liquid global gas market and we are, of course, trying to bring on our own national gas through shale. I note my hon. Friend’s concerns, and I am happy to say that we get most of our imported gas from Norway. “
Reply by Andrea Leadsom, Energy Minister said to Kevin Hollingrake the Conservative MP for Ryedale
I can absolutely assure my hon. Friend that all onshore oil and gas projects, including shale gas projects, are subject to scrutiny through the planning system, which addresses impacts on residents such as traffic movements, noise and working hours, and that national planning guidance says that, in respect of minerals such as shale oil and gas, new developments should not just be appropriate for their location but take into account the effects of pollution, including the cumulative effects, on health, the natural environment or general amenity, and the potential sensitivity of the area. I am well aware of what a beautiful area he lives in and I assure him we are absolutely focused on
Question by Jim Cunningham, Labour, Coventry South
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, pursuant to the Answer of 6 November 2015 to Question 13387, what information her Department holds on the number of sites approved for fracking in England and Wales; what the location is of each such site; and if she will make a statement.
Reply by Andrea Leadsom
There are currently no sites approved for fracking in England and Wales. Any operator would need a Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence (PEDL) in place before commencing hydrocarbon operations. A PEDL does not, in and of itself, allow an operator to commence hydrocarbon operations. Rather, they grant exclusivity to licensees within a defined area. All operations would also require local planning permission, Environment Agency permits, Health and Safety Executive scrutiny, Oil and Gas Authority consent and access agreement(s) with relevant landowner(s).
The Infrastructure Act 2015 introduced a range of further requirements that must be met before an operator can carry out hydraulic fracturing in a responsible, sustainable and safe manner. A hydraulic fracturing consent will not be issued unless my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State is satisfied that the conditions are met. The Secretary of State must also be satisfied that it is appropriate to issue the consent.
Question by Thangam Debbonaire, Labour, Bristol West
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what steps her Department has taken to assess the impact of hydraulic fracturing in (a) national parks and (b) other environmentally sensitive areas.
Reply by Andrea Leadsom
The Government issued guidance on its planning policy on unconventional hydrocarbon development in National Parks, the Broads, AONBs and World Heritage Sites in July 2014, which clearly sets out the high level of protection accorded to these areas in respect to development.
In addition, in July 2015 the Government laid draft regulations that define protected areas in which hydraulic fracturing will be prohibited. These regulations ensure that the process of high volume hydraulic fracturing cannot take place at depths above 1200 metres in National Parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, World Heritage Sites and areas that are most vulnerable to groundwater pollution.
We have also separately committed to ensuring that fracking cannot be conducted from wells that are drilled in the UK’s most valuable areas and are minded to apply these in Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Ramsar and Natura 2000 sites, as well as the areas covered by the draft Protected Areas regulations.