No fracking references in Queen’s Speech

Queen's speech - evening standard

Yesterday’s Evening Standard. Photo: Jon O’Houston

As predicted by several newspapers yesterday, Conservative manifesto pledges on shale gas did not make it into this morning’s Queen’s Speech.

The outline of the government’s legislative programme included 27 bills or draft bills, of which eight were on Brexit.

But the proposals to change the planing system for shale gas exploration and fracking were not mentioned.

The only reference to energy was:

“My government will ensure fairer markets for consumers, this will include bringing forward measures to help tackle unfair practices in the energy market to help reduce energy bills.”

Manifesto promise

Conservative manifesto shale

The manifesto promised to treat non-fracking drilling as permitted development, which would not require planning permission. It also said major shale planning decisions would be made by a planning inspector or government minister, as nationally-significant infrastructure. Conservative Manifesto 2017

The only reference to infrastructure in the Queen’s Speech is related to national security:

“My government will bring forward proposals to ensure that critical national infrastructure is protected to safeguard national security.”

On the day of the manifesto launch, in May, the industry body, UK Onshore Oil and Gas, and the country’s biggest exploration  licence holder, INEOS, both welcomed the manifesto commitments. DrillOrDrop report

DrillOrDrop asked both if they had a comment today. A spokesperson for UKOOG said:

“We have several projects going through planning and exploratory drilling is taking place so the industry is making solid progress.”

Other manifesto proposals missing from the Queen’s Speech include promises on social care, fox hunting, means-testing the winter fuel allowance, repealing the ban on new selective schools and replacing free school lunches with breakfasts.

Other reaction

Greenpeace welcomed the absence of the changes to planning laws.

Queens speech Greenpeace reax 170621

The anti-fracking campaign group, Frack Free United, said:

“This is a good day for communities and local democracy. Yes, nothing has really changed and we will have to continue the fight to protect communities from being turned into fracking gas fields, but make no mistake, this is a tipping point.


“The industry will only flourish with government support and the Conservative party U-turn on the manifesto pledge is a real shot in the arm for the campaign, providing even more energy into our campaign for the battles ahead.”

Di Keal, Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Thirsk and Malton, where Third Energy has permission to frack a well, said:

“This is a move in the right direction. We were appalled by the Tory bid to drive a sledgehammer through local democracy in their pledge to take planning decisions on fracking applications away from local control – and this back tracking is good to see, but there is a long way to go until the industry is wiped out in the UK.

“The Liberal Democrats have listened to the public’s overwhelming opposition to the fracking industry and are calling for an outright ban on this hugely damaging, unsustainable industry. We will continue to fight the Tories ‘dash for gas’ from an industry that puts at risk public health, the environment, jobs and the economy.”




29 replies »

  1. It is a bit of a stretch but the Queen’s speech regarding critical national infrastructure may consider shale gas development as NSIP or national significant infrastructure projects as suggested before and similar to HS2. And one may interpret secured gas supply and lower energy cost is a safe guard for the nation. Of course it is reaching but one may agrue so.

    • I think that is a stretch TW if they had to abandon their manifesto proposals, making fracking an NSIP would be at least as unpopular and there is no evidence whatsoever that fracking will lower energy costs.

      • A weak dithering Conservative Government will see even more costly delays for snail shale.

        Some of our tax money is however heading in the right direction to turn wind and sun energy into non intermittent space heating. Smart common sense idea.

        On Tuesday, the government announced funding for two projects that could help wean the UK off its reliance on natural gas for heating.

        BEIS said £25m would be made available to test using hydrogen to cut greenhouse gas emissions from heat. The money will fund research into whether existing gas pipes can be used for hydrogen, and what impact having a hydrogen boiler would have for consumers. A further £10m is being invested in “smart heating”.

        Unlike gas, hydrogen produces no emissions when burned, although it is only considered a green fuel if produced with renewable power.

        The newly appointed energy minister, Claire Perry, said: “The UK government is committed to leading the world in delivering clean energy technology and today’s investment shows that we are prepared to support innovation in this critical area.”

        Makes a change from subsidising the dirty fossil fuel industry


          • John and Philip P

            Maybe it’s the story about the government underwriting loans etc for exports of O&G, mining and power station equipment. If so, the headline is a bit misleading. The tax payer has not shelled out 6.9 Billion in cash to the industry ( primarily manufacturing companies ). We are not told the actual figure paid out where the loans have gone sour.

            I see that the rump of the once great UK mining equipment manufacturing sector is in the list. Perhaps the Indy and Greenpeace would prefer that manufacturing capacity went abroad, to Germany for example, where Eickhoff would be more than willing to fill the gap.

            The other point is that level of underwriting for renewables is less, which it would be of course. I see nothing in the report that says the gov is favouring one manufacturer over another.

            Good luck to those manufacturers in the renewables sector, such as Siemens, who i note, are also in the Greenpeace / Independant report of shame.

            The Fossil fuel industry may well be subsidised, but where are they subsidised directly ( cash into their hands for producing something) rather than loan assistance ( presumably extended to a variety of sectors ), or by lower tax rates (VAT on my heating fuel for example).

            You would think from the headline that someone is passing cash to them directly, and them alone.

  2. We factored this in on the day after the election. Markets haven’t moved in response to today. Main focus is keeping comrade Corbyn out. He is an old guy that has never had a proper job, total phoney. What it has achieved is a resurgence of the right who are far more powerful than our little lefties. I anticipate a move away from centre ground politics which is clearly not working for anyone asides from people in cushy positions and Ill gotten means.

    • ‘a resurgence of the right who are far more powerful than our little lefties’

      Not really. We are miles in front on the fracking fiasco. The real power is with those who are being put at risk. The local communities.

      The story so far…..

      • Miles ahead? As far as I’m aware we are about to have two test wells results very shortly. Watch how the tables turn if they prove positive.
        The UK is going to decline dramatically whilst the US is going to go from strength to strength, the process has already started with the value of Sterling. You don’t turn away business.
        You can kiss your generous pension perks goodbye shortly. But you won’t listen as you’re too selfish in old age.
        I’m looking fwd to bringing fresh faces to the desolate North to break up these scary looking “communities”.

        • uuhhh, yeah?…..i dont know about the rest of you, but i have a sudden and intense desire to put as much distance between GottaDamerung and myself?

          Suddenly the Outer Hebrides are looking pretty good, as is Timbuktu!

          Where are Harmodius, Aristogiton And The Tyrannicides when you need them?

  3. There are indications that the Paris Agreement on Climate Change will be honoured and also under “Agriculture” there’s concern for our “precious natural environment”.

    Click to access Queens_speech_2017_background_notes.pdf

    But as a TV commentator reminded us this morning — Government can alter and repeal as it wishes.


    Hopefully, despite this Parliamentary option, the slim Government majority should concentrate minds and stop the ruthless imposition of cruel and unresearched policies such as fracking.

  4. The market hustlers will keep talking things up to keep the gullible investors on side. The realists won’t.

    • You may be right on this point. Yes, some maybe talking it up but the fact is fracking would still tale place but not as widespread as some investors hope.

  5. The fact we have a hung Parliament and the possibility that the Conservatives will be turfed out in another election should make investors think very, very carefully about risking their money on fracking. All the other major parties have said they will ban it and the Tories’ grasp on power looks extremely tenuous.

  6. The biggest problem we face is in the infrastructure act the definition of fracking was changed to include only fracking above a certain level, under this level hydraulic fracturing will not be classed as fracking and this would include the volumes that caused the Blackpool tremors and which 43% of 17000 wells drilled in the US between 2000 and 2010 wells in the US were fracked below. Merely banning fracking is not enough as there are already applications to drill around Nottingham using the same deceptive definition to commence turning the countryside into a gasfield.

  7. Well we need all hands (in Surrey) on Deck- UKOG / Leith Hill has sent in 1 to 4 new planning applications PER WEEK trying to overload the planning system with requests. This is not fair. Every application comes with a request for FENCING, GENERATORS, SITE OFFICES and other things – for 52 weeks. 52. Even though their planning permision was for 18 weeks. They must have taken the tactic to get a YES no matter what, then extend their stay by other means. If any of you have any desire to REALLY FIGHT … please help by getting all of your surrey friends to OPPOSE and demand DENIAL of these applications. Also complaints to ministers that HOUSING APPLICATIONS will get delayed and targets for housing missed because of officer overload by UKOG where there is only something like 17 days to decide these appllications?

    Here is todays application: http://planning.surreycc.gov.uk/planappdisp.aspx?AppNo=SCC%20Ref%202017/0001

  8. I wouldn’t worry too much. UK shale industry is slow and tentative in its action. They lost thie initiatives as time and technology progress. The industry is very entrenched in its old thinking and attitude that fossil fuels will mever be phased out. But they don’t realize technologies are improving rapidly and they will miss their timing.

    • Have those technologies allowed the sun to shine 24/7? Have they enabled the wind to blow each day all year long? Until this happens, fossil fuels will be needed. Because the wind can calm for weeks on end while the sun isn’t shining. You simply cannot store enough energy to account for these periods – and even if you could it would be prohibitively expensive and environmentally costly. No, fossil fuels will be around for the next 100 years at minimum.

      • As more power is generated from renewables, our dependence on fossil fuels is reduced. I don’t recall anyone against shale oil and gas (fracking, acidising, unconventional) stating that the need for fossil fuels would end overnight. What is extremely disappointing is a lack of initiatives on energy reduction. We have masses of poorly insulated properties in the UK, and once installed (double glazing, loft insultation, cavity wall insulation etc, etc), they save energy year after year. And the task is so huge that it would employ many many thousands of people for many years. A nationwide switch to LED light bulbs would significantly reduce lighting energy needs. Another disappointment is the government caving into the construction industry by watering down house building regulations regarding energy efficiency, apparently because it took the builders longer to build, which I find hard to believe. I would also like to see greater initiatives on reducing the amount of gas used in houses. For cooking this is easy, especially as induction hobs are apparently more energy efficient and cleaner. However space heating is a problem, and yet I’m not aware of much being done on this except on encouraging people to install more efficient boilers, and possibly heat pumps which are still expensive. Is there any serious research on alternatives to gas for heating? Continuing to rely on fossil fuels is not an option.

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