Fracking Week in Westminster – w/e 26th June 2015


Transcripts of parliamentary questions and debates on fracking and onshore oil and gas for the week ending 26th June 2015.

  • Subsidy cut for wind but increased for fracking
  • Community gets last say on wind but not for fracking
  • Fracking concerns in Falkirk
  • Fracking and the planning system
  • Licences for unconventional extraction
  • Upcoming debate on shale gas

With thanks to TheyWorkForYou.com

 22nd June 2015

Questions on government plans to end subsidies for onshore wind

Question by Ian Lucas, Labour, Wrexham
Last Wednesday, tens of thousands of campaigners came to London to ask us to do more on climate change. What do we tell them now about the Government’s priorities when they cut subsidies for renewables and increase them for fracking?

Reply by Amber Rudd, Energy and Climate Change Secretary
I also met constituents and leaders of the march in my Department. I think we should tell them the truth, which is that the Government continue to be the greenest Government ever. We will deliver on our climate change targets, and we are committed to getting a deal in Paris. I urge the hon. Gentleman to stick to the truth.

24th June 2015

Questions to the Prime Minister

Question by Gordon Marsden Labour, Blackpool South
Why has the Prime Minister promised local people the final say on onshore wind farms but denies local people in Blackpool and Lancashire the final say over local fracking applications? Why are there double standards on renewable energy and fracking?

Reply by David Cameron, The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party
The hon. Gentleman is making a slightly odd comparison. We have taken away the unnecessary subsidy for onshore wind, given that it is now a mature technology, and we have a sensible planning system so that unconventional gas can go ahead under very strict environmental conditions. I will tell him what I want for Blackpool. I want Blackpool to be the centre of expertise and excellence for this industry. I want the jobs, the apprenticeships and the training rather than to see things stuck, which is what he wants.

25th June 2015

Debate on energy and climate change

Question by John McNally, Scottish National Party, Falkirk
In my constituency, many people are concerned about the impact of fracking on their area, as it has a direct effect on their lives. Will the Secretary of State present a detailed health and environmental impact assessment of fracking to the [Climate Change] conference in Paris?

Reply by Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd
The hon. Gentleman will be aware that this Government have made a commitment to ensuring that we can extract shale and to do it in the safest and most environmentally friendly way. This country has a long history and record of safe environmental working in oil and *gas*. Let me reassure him that that will always be a priority in ensuring that we access the shale.

Business of the House: Reports into Investigatory Powers

Extract of maiden speech by John McNally, Scottish National Party, Falkirk
We have a threat to my area and across Scotland: principally, shale gas fracking. Scotland has a worldwide reputation for the purity of its water and a huge and growing food and drink industry that relies on that reputation. Nothing should jeopardise it. Fossil fuels cannot last forever in Scotland. We can make the transition from fossil to renewable energy through investment, research and development, but we need control of our own energy resources. Those powers need to be transferred to the Scottish Parliament now.

Written answers

Question by David Morris, Conservative, Morecambe and Lunesdale
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will take steps to ask or require local planning authorities to publish the planning routes for any application of (a) fracking and (b) any other energy facilities.

Reply by James Wharton, Communities and Local Government Minister
The Government’s online planning practice guidance (http://planningguidance.planningportal.gov.uk/ ) includes information on the process for applications made for planning permission under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Guidance on the process for projects that are nationally significant infrastructure projects under the Planning Act 2008 is also available online http://infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk/application-process/ .

Local authorities are free to make links to this guidance on their own websites if they wish.

Question by Chris Matheson Labour, City of Chester
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, how many applications her Department has received for licences for unconventional gas extraction since 2010; how many such applications were approved; how many applications her Department has received for onshore wind generation facilities since 2010; and how many such applications were approved.

Reply by Andrea Leadsom, Energy and Climate Change Minister
Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences (PEDLs) grant exclusive rights to extract hydrocarbons within a particular onshore area. These rights include, but are not exclusive to, unconventional gas. A further consent is required before any extraction can take place. No PEDLs have been issued since 2008. Applications for PEDLs under the 14th Onshore Licensing Round are currently being considered – 95 applications for 295 licence blocks have been made.

Since 2010 DECC has received 3 planning applications for onshore windfarms above 50MW and the Planning Inspectorate has received 1 further application for examination. 6 onshore wind applications above 50MW have been approved by the Secretary of State in the period. In addition, at the end of March 2015, five years after the introduction of the Feed-in Tariff scheme, 6,830 sub 5MW installations totalling 396MW had been registered on the scheme. The Renewables Obligation was introduced in 2002 to support large scale renewable electricity in the UK and since 2010 Ofgem have accredited 415 onshore wind stations totalling 4.28 GW under the scheme.

Upcoming parliamentary events

Tuesday 30th June 2015, 9.30am-11.00am, Westminster Hall, shale gas debate called by Kevin Hollinrake, Conservative, Thirsk and Malton,

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