Fracking Week in Westminster (1-5 Sept)

Transcripts of this week’s parliamentary questions and statements on:

  • Fracking safety
  • Labour amendments to Infrastructure Bill
  • Public information about fracking
  • Tax revenues

With thanks to TheyWorkForYou.com

4th September
Questions on Energy and climate change

Ian Lucas (Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs); Wrexham, Labour)
What steps is he taking to ensure the safety of fracking?

Matthew Hancock (Minister of State for Energy; West Suffolk, Conservative)
Shale gas, carefully extracted, offers the potential to improve the security of Britain’s energy supplies and create jobs. All onshore projects are subject to scrutiny through the planning system, the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive.

Ian Lucas
Many of my constituents are expressing concerns about fracking. If the Minister wants to take the public with him when he is dealing with energy applications, will he agree to Labour’s amendments to the Infrastructure Bill to allow baseline assessments so that people’s concerns can be assessed?

Matthew Hancock
We are looking carefully at all the amendments that have been tabled to the Infrastructure Bill. In several cases, the amendments reiterate what already happens. We want to ensure that we make the most of Britain’s indigenous energy supplies in a way that is safe and secure, creates jobs and will give us better security of supply. We will consider all measures to try to do that.

David Nuttall (Bury North, Conservative)
Given that the UK has been producing nuclear energy safely for nearly 60 years without any major problems, does the Minister agree that, given all the safety regulation we have, there is no reason to believe that this country is not capable of extracting shale gas safely?

Matthew Hancock
I agree strongly with my hon. friend, and that is what we are going to do.

John Robertson (Glasgow North West, Labour)
I have not made my mind up on fracking yet, but the information that we get is a bit like the Scottish Government’s White Paper—full of words but with no answers. Will the Minister ensure that the people of this country are fully informed about fracking and what is happening with it?

Matthew Hancock
Yes. We have an intensive communication plan, and I will ensure that the hon. Gentleman is included in any future communications. I can particularly recommend to him one of the Department for Energy and Climate Change publications, which explains in clear detail exactly what fracking is, how it is safe and the regulatory structure for it. It is important to ensure that we take advantage of this indigenous and secure domestic energy supply, but in a way that is safe and secure

Treasury questions

Eric Ollerenshaw (Lancaster and Fleetwood, Conservative)
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of potential tax revenue to the Exchequer from shale gas and oil products in each region and constituent part of the UK.

Priti Patel (The Exchequer Secretary; Witham, Conservative)
Reports by the British Geological Survey’s clearly demonstrate the potential for shale gas in the UK. Shale gas has the potential to increase our energy security, generate growth and support thousands of jobs, and the Government is doing everything it can to support the safe and sustainable development of shale gas. This is why we introduced the onshore allowance, to incentivise investment in onshore oil and gas projects and kick-start exploration. Last year, the industry also announced that local communities would receive £100,000 when a test well is fracked – and a further 1% of revenues if shale gas is discovered.

More work is needed to determine the extent of the gas that can be technically and commercially recovered. While there is clearly potential for shale gas to provide substantial revenue to the Exchequer in the future, no forecasts have been produced on the scale or timing of the revenue.


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