Ministers revealed this week that ambulances were called six times to incidents at or near Cuadrilla’s shale gas site in July and that government departments discuss anti-fracking protests.
In the first Fracking Week in Parliament after the recess, there’s also a question on well decommissioning and a Labour MP commits to opposing fracking.
Thanks to TheyWorkForYou.com for the transcripts.
11 September 2017
Question by John Spellar, Labour, Warley
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with the Home Office on preventing intimidation of people legally involved in fracking.
Reply by Richard Harrington, Energy minister, Conservative, Watford
Peaceful protest is a vital part of a democratic society. People must be free to gather together and to demonstrate their views, provided that they do so within the law.
But protestors’ rights must be balanced with the rights of others to go about their business without fear of intimidation or serious disruption to the community. Rights to peaceful protest do not extend to violent or threatening behaviour and the police have powers to deal with any such acts.
BEIS and the Home Office have regular discussions across a wide range of topics of mutual interest, including protest activity related to fracking.
Question by Mark Menzies, Conservative, Fylde
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what reports his Department has received of incidents of unreasonable behaviour towards North West Ambulance Service staff at or outside Cuadrilla Resources’ shale gas site on the A583.
Reply by Philip Dunne, Health Minister, Conservative, Ludlow
This information is not held centrally.
12 September 2017
Question by Mark Menzies Conservative, Fylde
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many times ambulances attended incidents on the A583 at or outside Cuadrilla Resources’ shale gas site on that road in July 2017.
Reply by Philip Dunne
We are advised by North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust that there were six occasions during July 2017 where ambulances attended incidents on the A583 at or outside Cuadrilla Resources’ shale gas site.
13 September 2017
Question by Greg Knight, Conservative, East Yorkshire
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2017 to Question 1697, what provisions and safeguards he has made to ensure that where a disused shale gas well needs decommissioning or maintenance and the company responsible is insolvent that the costs incurred do not fall to the taxpayer either locally or nationally.
Reply by Richard Harrington
The regulatory framework has provisions in place to ensure wells can be decommissioned with no need for on-going attention.
As part of the petroleum licensing process, and prior to awarding a licence, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) assesses whether a company has adequate financial capacity for its planned operations. The OGA also checks at the drilling and, where relevant, production stage that the company has sufficient funding and appropriate insurance.
From the outset a shale gas operator is required to design and construct an oil and gas well with a view to its safe decommissioning. HSE specialist inspectors scrutinise these plans to ensure the well can be abandoned safely.
At the end of the life of a well, The Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction, etc.) Regulations 1996 requires all oil and gas wells to be abandoned in such a way that there can be no escape of fluids from the well or from the reservoir associated with it, so far as is reasonably practicable.
14 September 2017
Extract of speech by Geraint Davies, Labour, Swansea West
Energy in Wales debate, Westminster Hall
I stood in the general election on a platform of saying that I will defend the 25,000 jobs in Swansea bay that depend on access to the single market, promote rail electrification and keep it on track, keep the lagoon moving forward and oppose fracking. On that basis, my vote went up by 50% in both share and number. I will stick to my pledges and will use this occasion to again promote the Swansea bay tidal lagoon. The tidal lagoon has been talked about for years. George Osborne, the then Chancellor, announced in his November 2014 autumn statement that he thought the lagoon was a fantastic idea and that he wanted to get work on it moving. David Cameron echoed that, and then the Hendry review gave it and its costings a clean bill of health.