Politics

Fracking Week in Parliament: 5-9 December 2016

Westminster

In this Fracking Week in Parliament

  • Mark Menzies on fracking and health
  • Baroness Jones on fracking and counter-terrorism
  • Geraint Davies on fracking and methane emissions, twice
  • Liam Kerr on Scottish Conservative support for shale gas

With thanks to TheyWorkForYou.com for the transcripts

UK PARLIAMENT

5 December 2016

Written questions on health hazards of fracking

Mark MenziesQuestions by Mark Menzies, Conservative, Fylde

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what his Department’s assessment is of the potential implications of drilling for shale gas for the health of residents living in close proximity to shale gas well sites.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the Director of Public Health for Lancashire’s report, published on 6 November 2014, into the Potential Public Health Impacts of the Proposed Shale Gas Exploration Sites in Lancashire, how many of the 61 recommendations in that report his Department has acted on; and which of those recommendations have not been acted on by his Department and why.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the Public Health England report entitled Review of the Potential Public Health Impacts of Exposures to Chemical and Radioactive Pollutants as a Result of the Shale Gas Extraction Process, published in January 2014, how many of the recommendations made in that report his Department has acted on; and which recommendations have not been acted on by his Department and why.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he has taken to estimate the number of residents living in close proximity to Cuadrilla Resources’ shale gas well at Preston New Road who have pre-existing health conditions potentially susceptible to aggravation by drilling for shale gas.

nicola-blackwoodReply by Nicola Blackwood, Health Minister, Conservative, Oxford West and Abindon

The Public Health England (PHE) report, published in June 2014, concluded that the currently available evidence indicates that the potential risks to public health from exposure to chemical and radiological emissions associated with shale gas extraction will be low if the operations are properly run and regulated. PHE continues to review the evidence on the potential public health impacts of emissions associated with shale gas extraction.

The Director of Public Health at Lancashire County Council, 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. The relevant recommendations for the health community fell broadly into four areas; public engagement, health surveillance, health impact assessment and research. PHE is taking forward the recommendations relevant to their responsibilities.

PHE engages regularly with Government partners and agencies in respect of the PHE review recommendations. Actions include continued engagement with the regulators, supporting public engagement events in areas where shale gas developments are proposed, and participating in a baseline environmental monitoring project led by a British Geological Survey consortium:

Link to questions

6 December 2016

Westminster Hall debate on tidal lagoons and UK energy strategy

Geraint DaviesGeraint Davies, Labour, Swansea West

We cannot exploit all the oil and, also, we cannot really go down the road of fracking. People may have read the recent Council of Europe report on hydraulic fracturing. It concluded that, given that methane is 86 times worse for global warming than carbon dioxide and fracking has fugitive emissions of 5%, fracking is twice as bad as coal for global warming, so we need to have very tight controls on fracking. Perhaps the Minister [Business Minister, Jesse Norman] will respond to that. Will he undertake to ensure that fugitive emissions are below 1% for the whole process and below 0.1% at the well head? If we can get that out of the way, it opens the door for Swansea bay lagoon and other lagoons like it as pathfinders. We should not mess around when we know that strategically other options are not open to us.

Link to debate

7 December 2016

Prime Ministers Questions Time

Question by Geraint Davies

US satellite data show that 6% of methane from fracking is leaked through fugitive emissions. Given that methane is 86 times worse than CO2 for global warming over a 20-year timeframe, will the right hon. Gentleman support the Council of Europe’s call for the banning of fracking, or at least for a maximum of 0.1% fugitive emissions at the wellhead?

david-lidingtonDavid Lidington, Leader of the House of Commons, Conservative, Aylesbury, standing in for Theresa May

No, Mr Speaker. The Government took their decision to give a go-ahead to fracking after extensive consideration of both the economic and the environmental risks and opportunities involved. We are confident that fracking can be carried out in a way that is safe and does not harm the environment, but which also provides job opportunities for this country and makes us less dependent on the import of energy.

Link to questions

9 December 2016

Written question on fracking and counter-terrorism

baroness-jonesQuestion by Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb, Green

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 24 November (HL3373), what procedures exist for challenging and correcting Prevent practitioners who include participation in anti-fracking groups within their training materials.

Baroness WilliamsReply by Baroness Williams of Trafford, Home Office minister, Conservative

Prevent is about safeguarding vulnerable people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. Prevent training is kept under continued review, and feedback is provided to ensure training materials address the risk of terrorism.

Link to question

SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT

6 December 2016

Debate on renewables

Liam Kerr - Conservative - North East

Liam Kerr, Conservative, North East Scotland

I represent a party that is committed not only to ambitious emissions targets, as Alexander Burnett said—that was demonstrated by the UK’s continued leading stance at the 21st session of the conference of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP21—but to our energy security and to creating a genuine energy mix. I represent a party that is committed to an energy mix that includes shale gas, unlike the party that imposed a moratorium on even exploration—I repeat, exploration—for shale gas in Scotland, and which claims to be environmentally aware but supports the shipping to Grangemouth of shale gas from halfway around the world in massive supertankers.

Jackie Baillie - Labour - Dumbarton

Jackie Baillie, Labour, Dumbarton

Would Liam Kerr care to reflect on the fact that licensing for bringing the product of fracking into the port of Grangemouth is done by the UK Government?

Liam Kerr

I will reflect on that, but the point remains the same. One cannot bring shale gas from halfway around the world, try not to turn up to a photo opportunity and then hope that no one notices. Well, the people of Scotland noticed.

Link to debate

DrillOrDrop asked Mark Menzies if he would like to comment on the reply he received from the minister but he has not responded.

1 reply »

  1. David Lidington choosing, or perhaps told, to ignore the evidence. I’m concerned about being less dependent on imported food, but I’m not aware of this government going all out for home grown food. “Britain…imports 40% of the total food consumed and the proportion is rising.” http://www.foodsecurity.ac.uk/issue/uk.html

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