The chair of the Environment Agency, Chris Smith, has assured a Sussex MP that local water will be protected from any pollution caused by fracking at Balcombe or beyond. Lord Smith was responding to concerns raised by Lewes MP, Norman Baker, about the potential expansion of fracking across the south east. Lord Smith said groundwater and local springs and wetlands would be adequately protected.Mr Baker, a Liberal Democrat who was recently appointed a Home Office minister, said on his blog:
“If fracking is to go ahead, and clearly that is controversial, it is vital that the environment is fully protected. Local wetland habitats will be particularly vulnerable should work continue, with important ecosystems, including the Ouse Valley and Ashdown Forest, at particular risk from any water contamination. The Chair of the Environment Agency has given me an absolute assurance it is treating this matter seriously in terms of its duty to conserve the natural landscape.
The 2013 Liberal Democrats’ conference passed a motion to limit shale gas exploration until regulations were adequate and strictly enforced. This blog has made three requests for more detail on the motion but has had no response. The questions will now be forwarded to Mr Baker and the response posted here.