Minister to speak to new group on fracking regulation


The Energy Minister, Andrea Leadsom, is the speaker at a new parliamentary group on shale gas regulation, which meets next week.

Kevin HollinrakeThe group is chaired by Kevin Hollinrake, the Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton. He resigned in January as vice-chair of a group on unconventional hydrocarbons after constituents pointed out that it was sponsored by the oil and gas industry (Details).

Mr Hollinrake said the aim of the new group was “not to discuss the pros and cons of shale gas extraction but to recommend appropriate regulation and planning regimes should fracking take place”. He said there would be no sponsorship fom any outside bodies.

The MP said membership of the new group was open to politicians, academics and representatives of organisations with an interest in the environment and countryside.

Mr Hollinrake’s constituency includes the village of Kirby Misperton, where Third Energy wants to frack its existing KM8 well. North Yorkshire County Council is expected to announce soon the date of the planning meeting that will decide Third Energy’s application.

Other speakers

Next week’s meeting is the group’s session first with speakers. It will also hear from representatives of the Environment Agency, Health and Safety Executive, the ReFine project (Research into Fracking in Europe academic consortium), and Greenpeace. It is expected to discuss what regulations are currently in place, how appropriate they are and how regulations would be implemented and sustained if shale gas extraction were to take place.

Mr Hollinrake said future meetings were likely to discuss issues such as possible water contamination, potential earthquakes, economic viability, function and remit of the industry body UKOOG, role of the Planning Inspectorate, density of sites, community benefits and how they would be paid, medical concerns and provision of independent research to the public.

At the time of writing, the group was not on Westminster’s register of All party Parliamentary Groups, last updated in mid-March. But the group has a website with a contact page.

Meeting details

The meeting is at 9.45am on Wednesday 20 April 2016 at the Westminster. To attend or join the group and for more details contact nigel.knapton@parliament.uk

  • The All Party Parliamentary Group on Unconventional Oil and Gas meets on 17 May 2016 to discuss “the unknowns of fracking” with Richard Davies, of ReFine, and Emma Pinchbeck, of WWF.

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6 replies »

  1. The group is to discuss “water contamination, potential earthquakes, [and] economic viability,”

    I do hope our friends from Friends of Ryedale Gas Exploration will be there to assure the panel on the impossibility of the first two and the absolute certainty of the latter.

  2. You may try to regulate people with permits and require them to monitor, but there’s no way a natural environment can be regulated.

  3. This article has a link to a report on the environmental and community impacts of ‘fracking’ in the USA: http://thkpr.gs/3768993. On page 7 of the actual report, it states: To address the environmental and public health threats from fracking across the nation, states should prohibit fracking. No plausible system of regulation appears likely to address the scale and severity of fracking’s impacts.

    • Here is another article, about a federal review of the #USA Environmental Protection Agency’s lack of oversight of oil and gas waste water. There are comments from a spokesperson for the Environmental Defence Fund, should be taken with a pinch of salt. As it is a corporate sponsored organisation, posing as a green group: http://desert.sn/1N65OUg

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