Sussex MPs seek to cut fracking from Infrastructure Bill

Two Sussex MPs have tabled amendments to remove all the clauses on fracking and oil and gas drilling from the Infrastructure Bill.

Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, and Norman Baker, Lib Dem MP for Lewes, are seeking to delete clause 36 which introduces the new legal duty to maximise the economic recovery of UK oil and gas.

In a separate amendment, the two MPs are also seeking to remove clauses 38-43 of the Bill, which deal with drilling for oil and gas in deep level land, including the proposed changes to the trespass laws.

In an explanation of their second amendment, Dr Lucas and Mr Baker said: “This deletes the Clauses that change the trespass law by introducing a new right to use deep-level land, which would allow fracking companies to drill beneath people’s homes and land without their permission and to leave any substance or infrastructure in the land”.

Last month, Mr Baker called an adjournment debate on fracking. Our report  During the Second Reading debate on the Infrastructure Bill earlier this month, Dr Lucas criticised government policy on onshore oil and gas drilling. She said: “An effective response to climate change requires a complete shift to a carbon-neutral energy system within a generation in all the major economies including Britain.” More quotes from Second Reading debate

Other amendments

The latest list of amendments also include those by Labour’s energy spokesman, Tom Greatrex. These would would require

  • New planning guidance introducing a presumption against deep-level onshore oil and gas exploration in protected areas and land linked to them.
  • Inspections by the Health and Safety Executive of wells before exploitation of petroleum to check for unplanned escape of fluids or health and safety risks
  • Minerals Planning Authorities to consider the cumulative impact of exploiting petroleum in deep level land
  • Site by site measurement, monitoring and public disclosure of existing and future fugitive emissons
  • Devolution of decisions over oil and gas licensing in Scotland
  • Compulsory Environmental Impact Assessment for all deep-level drilling
  • Independent inspections of well integrity
  • Public disclosure of chemicals and the proportions used in fracking
  • Mandatory consultation by Mineral Planning Authorities with relevant water companies on  drilling applications
  • Environmental monitoring over the previous 12 months of a drilling operation
  • Ecological monitoring and monitoring of methane in groundwater

Labour is also seeking to limit the Bill’s clause which would allow any substances to be left in deep level land. Its amendment replaces this with “substances approved by the Environment Agency”.

Andrew Miller, Labour MP for Ellesmere Port (where IGas recently announced it had found shale gas) has also introduced an amendment which requires companies to publish baseline environmental data in a form that would allow it to be peer-reviewed.

The amendments on fracking and onshore oil and gas drilling will be discussed in the New Year.The committee scrutinising the bill adjourned for Christmas this morning.  List of Committee Stage hearings

6 replies »

  1. Oh god! These Tory bills are not written by human beings any more .There seems to be a robotic, greedy corporate algorithm spewing them out, and it won’t stop till we and the natural environment are bled dry.

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