Opposition

Fracking headlines from the morning’s Infrastructure Bill committee

Scotland and deep-level access

The climate change minister, Amber Rudd, announced the government intended to introduce an amendment at the Report Stage of the Bill to remove Scotland from the provisions on the right to use deep level land for drilling.

The Climate Change Minister, Amber Rudd, told the committee:

“This will mean no change to existing access rights will be made in Scotland. Oil and gas companies and geothermal operators will need to negotiate access with all landowners under which their proposed activity would be carried out or obtain a court order granting the access rights as is currently the case.“

The shadow energy minister, Tom Greatrex, dropped his amendment on this issue

Publication of unredacted Defra report

The government refused to publish in full a previously redacted government report on the impact of shale gas on rural communities. Our story

Fracking in ground water protection zones

Mr Greatrex said he would not force a vote on his amendment that would have prohibited fracking in Groundwater Protection Zones 1-3. He said he reserved the right to come back to it at a later stage of the bill.

Deep-level access depth

Dr Alan Whitehead pursued his amendment seeking to increase the depth at which drilling companies had a right of access, from 300m to 1,000m. He said the 300m limit was not based on scientific evidence but on a perceived depth at which landowners would not lose enjoyment of their land if it were drilled.

In the vote the committee rejected the amendment: those in favour 7; those against 11.

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