Fracking Week in Parliament: 17-21 July 2017


Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, near Blackpool. Photo: Ros Wills

The Environment Agency has made five visits to Cuadrilla’s Lancashire shale gas site since November 2016, of which one was unannounced, according to written parliamentary answers this week.

Also in this Fracking Week in Parliament, the government confirms it is devolving the onshore licensing regime to Scotland and says exploration is needed to realise the potential of shale gas. This post will be updated throughout the week with new information. Thanks to TheyWorkForYou.com for the transcripts.

20 July 2017

John Mc NallyQuestion by John McNally
Scottish National Party, Falkirk

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 11 July 2017 to Question 3330, on natural gas: storage, if he will suspend fracking for as long as the UK continues to have secure gas supplies.

Richard Harrington MPReply by Richard Harrington
Conservative, Watford, Energy Minister

Shale gas could have great potential to be a domestic energy resource that makes us less reliant on imports and opens up a wealth of job opportunities. The economic impact of shale, both locally and nationally will depend on whether shale development is technically and commercially viable and on the level of production. To determine the potential of the industry and how development will proceed, we need exploration to go ahead.

19 July 2017

Mark Menzies

Question by Mark Menzies
Conservative, Fylde

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment the Environment Agency has made of the environmental effect of Cuadrilla Resources’ shale gas site at Preston New Road.

Therese Coffey

Reply by Therese Coffey
Conservative, Suffolk Coastal, Environment Minister

The Environment Agency assessed the potential environmental impacts of Cuadrilla’s proposed operations at its Preston New Road site and undertook two public consultations prior to granting environmental permits.

Since the issuing of the permits and during the construction phase of the site the Environment Agency has inspected the Preston New Road site five times. It has also monitored the local watercourses to ensure compliance with the environmental permit. Cuadrilla has recently applied to vary its environmental permit and the Environment Agency is currently consulting on the proposed changes and assessing the potential environmental impacts before deciding whether to grant the variation.

18 July 2017

Question by Mark Menzies

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many onsite inspections the Environment Agency has conducted at Cuadrilla Resources’ shale gas site at Preston New Road since November 2016.

Reply by Therese Coffey

The Environment Agency has conducted five site inspections at the Preston New Road site since November 2016. The Environment Agency undertakes a range of activities to assess compliance with the permit, including reviewing the reports and monitoring data. Information on recent Environment Agency compliance activities can be found on the Citizen Space webportal page for the Cuadrilla site.

Link to question

Question by Mark Menzies

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many unannounced onsite inspections the Environment Agency has conducted at Cuadrilla Resources’ shale gas site at Preston New Road since November 2016.

Reply by Therese Coffey

The Environment Agency has conducted one unannounced site inspection at Preston New Road since November 2016. This took place on 2 March 2017.

Link to question

Deidre BrockQuestion by Deidre Brock
SNP, Edinburgh North and Leith, spokesperson on devolved government relations

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to support the shale industry in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

Reply by Richard Harrington

The Government is in the process of devolving the onshore licensing regime to give the Scottish Government more control over the development of these resources. The Scottish Government already has responsibility for the planning and environmental aspects of the onshore oil and gas regime.

Link to question

12 replies »

  1. DCAF

    Dairy cows against fracking.

    9 udder lock on / slow walk.

    See. Nobody want’s it.

    Site development delayed until next milking.

    • More fugitive emission methane produced from cows than oil and gas wells onshore UK. More ground water pollution from cows than oil and gas wells, more BS from cows than JP even…..

      • There are actually 10 cows.

        9 have common sense, eat grass, and oppose fracking.

        The other is a ‘paid to graze’ panto cow placed by the industry. Easily spotted as it was attracted to the ragwort.

  2. Could anyone tell me how many questions Mark Menzies has raised in Parliament requesting how many times the EA and HSE have visited the failed Preese Hall site since it was shut down?

    I presume he would be keen to keep up to speed with how the long term abandonment of the first damaged shale gas well in the UK is progressing.

    If he has had answers from the EA and HSE regarding Preese Hall has he conveyed that information to the local community?

  3. Can anyone tell me if Mark Menzies was elected in the recent election or the green super cake making frack hating granny?

  4. Is that new tactic from Reclaim Power? First they used human shield and now they resort to the use of cows. Not sure which one release more methane and hot air?

  5. You’ve gotta think a deal has been struck with the SNP over fracking. They have put a stop on it until they have more control, what are the bets they announce a trial or test drill similar to England.

  6. Scotland powering ahead with cheap onshore wind projects


    Scottish offshore wind developments with prices dropping fast


    Note the 50% drop in turbine numbers as the new giant turbines come online.

    Scottish Power exporting offshore wind.


    Knock knock Conservative Government. Anybody in?

  7. The SNP just want to make sure they have control and Westminster doesn’t. They also have the issue of the North Sea and looking after it to consider. However, one thing is plainly obvious – you can hardly say they are anti oil and gas. It was, after all, one of their big pro arguments in the lead-up to the referendum. Plenty of countries are investing in renewables and investing in their oil and gas infrastructure at the same time, including Europe, which is building new pipelines and power stations.

    People need to remember that Oil and Gas, by any model, is still crucial for decades, no matter whether it declines or not (which it is obviously going to do). Other sectors will be hit far harder during the early and mid stages of the energy transition far earlier than the O&G sector will be. One of the things slowing down EVs, for example, has been the understanding that the workforces in those sectors are screwed. The Chevrolet Bolt has 24 moving parts compared to the Golf’s 147. Construction is much easier to automate and servicing and repairs will be much lower. A report in Germany (https://www.cesifo-group.de/ifoHome/presse/Pressemitteilungen/Pressemitteilungen-Archiv/2017/Q3/pm_20170718-verbot-verbrennungsmotor.html) predicts possible job losses of 420,000 in the Germany car industry alone. Across Europe 13 million people are employed across the auto-industries supply chains.

    Then consider driverless cars. There are already driverless HGVs and that sector of the economy is likely to go driverless before people decide they don’t want to drive anymore. All of the people employed in haulage, as well as taxi drivers, jobs are at risk.

    So when people think this change in car production and automation is coming very soon and very quickly they should consider that it is going to hit some people, and some of the poorer parts of our economies, far before hitting the oil and gas sector hard.

    Realistically the oil and gas sector has already seen, in the past few years, what might happen to it again in 25. Remember the oil price dropped nearly 80% over a matter of months and 1.5 trillion of investment was delayed or removed. Anyone imagining the sector cannot adjust to shrinking world consumption over a 30 year period is on some sort of drug I wouldn’t mind trying.

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