The energy minister, Andrea Leadsom, promised today there would be “no compromise” on taking account of the views of local communities on fracking.
Answering questions from MPs this morning, Mrs Leadsom said:
“We absolutely support the idea of local consultation and local people having their say.”
The Conservative MP for Chippenham, Michelle Donelan, said historic market towns, built for the horse and car, like Bradford on Avon in her constituency, could not cope because they didn’t have the infrastructure for extra traffic that fracking would bring along.
Mrs Leadsom replied:
“I absolutely think that that is one of the factors that any local authority planning committee would take into account and that’s precisely the point about having the local authority involvement in it and the community say because, of course, local people know best what’s suitable for their area.”
The shadow energy secretary, Lisa Nandy, said the country would be looking very closely at the decision – to be made next week – on Third Energy’s plans to frack at Kirby Misperton in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire. She asked:
“If the answer to that question is no will she extend the same courtesy to that community as she’s extended to communities affected by wind farms and give the people of Ryedale a promise that she will not override their wishes and impose fracking against their will.”
Mrs Leadsom replied:
“Safety is absolutely paramount. If there was any likelihood or chance or any risk of any of the scare stories that the right honourable lady likes propagate, if any of those issues were real, this government would not be looking at promoting such a vital industry.”
“It’s vital for our energy security that we continue to use home grown resources wherever we can. It is also a massive jobs and growth opportunity for very many communities in this country where employment is desperately needed.”
Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York Central, put it to the minister that more than 4,000 “well-informed people” had objected to Third Energy’s plans.
Mrs Leadsom replied:
“There is a balance between the absolutely right case that local people should have their say and the national interest and that is why there is a very clear local consultation process and that’s why the people of Ryedale will have their views taken into account and local authority will balance up those interests.”
The Conservative Michael Tomlinson (Mid Dorset and North Poole) also asked for reassurance about letting local residents have their say and that fracking would be considered only in what he called appropriate locations.
Mrs Leadsom said:
“I think I can absolutely assure my honourable friend that the UK has more than 50 years of safely regulating onshore and offshore oil and gas and we have the best regulatory environment in the world.”
“We have the Environment Agency looking very carefully at any proposals for hydraulic fracturing. The Health and Safety Executive who monitor all activity in that area. And of course local authorities will consult widely with their local communities.”
She also added:
“One thing I’m really desperate for is local communities to be given the proper facts and I think that’s really important part of the job that’s for us and for local authorities to do.”
- The decision on Third Energy’s plans will be made by the Planning and Regulatory Functions Committee of North Yorkshire County Council, meeting on Friday 20 May 2016, starting at 9.30am. The meeting is at County Hall in Northallerton. DrillOrDrop will be reporting with live updates from the meeting
Local communities have the proper facts – they have had them again from Ineos just yesterday – and whether or not you ignore the fact that experts have concluded there are gaps in regulation and unanswered questions about negative impacts (NERC, peer revised science and so on) – 395 wells in a 10km block is not acceptable. Ineos are now trying to push back on this, having previously confirmed the 395 figure was correct, and now say 120. This has only happened because of enormous negative public response. But 120 is still a massive step change to rural areas with rural infrastructure and Ineos is only one of several fracking licence holders in the area. Ms Leadsom is completely out of touch and frankly has no credibility whatsoever – fracking applications are on the edge of villages, where she states they would not be permitted, and our country is so small and densely populated the impacts will be far reaching. Parish councils, town councils, district councils and city councils have all said no – the community has said no, is the Conservative government listening – NO.
She is totally oblivious. Reading her responses actually makes me nervous. Can she really believe what she says?
Oh dear 😦
If this industry is vital a Ms Leadsom states and local needs are being swept aside for the greater good – then pay people the compensation scheme they deserve, not the ill thought out community benefit payment. Offer people the comfort of planning blight so they can move away from the area – if they cannot sell their property or only at a reduced sale price. Put your money where your mouth is – but that would be treating people fairly, so that will be another NO from this government.
Precisely why we can not let this toxic industry start. If they go ahead we will never recover. And we will never stop them even when the damage becomes obvious. No state in America could stop the fracking industry today.
FFS Does she really believe what she is saying? When the Fylde fracking appeal hangs on the decision of Greg Clark? Maybe someone should lock them in a room together and promise to throw away the key unless they say no to fracking the Fylde.
Isn’t she one of the signatories to that letter to Osbourne in support for the Dash for Gas…..
Lets be clear, for nearly every kilowatt of renewable energy we produce from wind and solar we are going to need a similar amount of reliable backup (until battery technology catches up which is years away) because on a freezing still evening in February there is NO solar and precious little wind. For the next decade at least, the best low carbon backups are gas and nuclear and since nuclear can’t be built on time, that leaves gas. Isn’t it better to harvest this gas from under our feet rather than import vast amounts as we do at the moment, sometimes from questionable regimes.
I’d rather have a frack pad near my town rather than a bunch of unsightly wind turbines or solar farms. Shale gas is now not “unconventional gas”, the majority of US gas for their 250 million people comes from shale and there have been 350,000 fracked wells. Yes there have been rare accidents but the benefits have been huge, environmentally and economically. Feels like if the attitudes to shale shown by so many now, had been around 100 years ago we would have no cars (far too dangerous) and no new buildings (builders fall off ladders). Let’s see the massive benefits of shale cross the Atlantic.
Mark – unconventional gas does not mean it becomes conventional because a great quantity has been extracted and burned. That is just industry PR. It is unconventional because it does not flow like conventional gas i.e. it will not flow without stimulation. Let us be clear there is a difference and it is not about how much is produced. It is amazing how many times people employed by industry and supporters of shale say they would be happy to live next to fracking pads/well site but the funny thing is none actuality do. I cannot think of many people that would like a multiple well pad 400m from their property,
Let us be clear, Mark is probably a tracking investor