In this Fracking Week in Parliament:
Two Conservatives from shale gas areas quiz the government on fracking impacts:
- Mark Menzies (Fylde) asks about health and air quality monitoring
- Fiona Bruce (Congleton) asks about impacts on communities
Thanks to TheyWorkForYou.com for the transcripts
28 November 2016
Written questions on health and air quality monitoring
Question by Mark Menzies Conservative, Fylde
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to undertake baseline monitoring of the health of residents living in close proximity to Cuadrilla Resources’ shale gas well site at Preston New Road.
Reply by Jesse Norman, Business Minister, Conservative, Hereford and South Herefordshire
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) highlights that the first point of contact on population health and well-being issues should be the Director of Public Health (DPH), and recommends that Local Authority planners should consider consulting the DPH on any planning applications that are likely to have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of the local population or particular groups within it. The role of the DPH is to provide expert advice and support, with an aim to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of the population. DPHs are able to seek expert advice and support from Public Health England in responding to such planning applications, where necessary, including support for the investigation of any pre-existing health concerns.
The DPH at Lancashire County Council (LCC) commissioned a rapid health impact assessment of the shale gas exploratory stage, specifically the proposed sites at Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road, which included an assessment of the baseline health profile for residents within the Warton and Westby ward of the Fylde district.
Question by Mark Menzies
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to institute baseline monitoring sites for air quality in residential areas in close proximity to Cuadrilla Resources’ shale gas well site at Preston New Road.
Reply by Jesse Norman
The Department currently grant-funds a research consortium led by the British Geological Survey to deliver a baseline environmental monitoring programme in and around sites in the Fylde (Lancashire) where applications for shale gas wells have been made. As a result of this programme and since January 2015, researchers have been gathering data on a number of environmental parameters including air quality. The monitoring located close to the proposed shale gas exploration site at Little Plumpton (Preston New Road) includes instrumentation to measure atmospheric composition, wind speed and direction, air temperature and relative humidity.
The monitoring characterises the environmental baseline before any hydraulic fracturing takes place and enables future shale gas projects’ data to be checked against these “baseline” data, allowing any significant changes to be flagged for further scrutiny. The investigations are independent of any monitoring carried out by the industry or the regulators. The information collected is freely available to the public on the BGS website
29 November 2016
Written question on fracking impacts on local communities
Question by Fiona Bruce, Conservative, Congleton
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on the potential effect of the Government’s policy on fracking on local communities.
Reply by Jesse Norman
I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave her on 2nd November 2016 to Question UIN 50945
In that reply he said:
Both the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are clear that local communities will have the opportunity to take part in and comment on matters that impact on their local area. Any shale planning application – whether decided by Local Authorities or Government – will continue to require a full consultation with local people.