The Conservative MP, Lee Rowley, who objected to INEOS plans in his constituency, is the chair of a new group at Westminster investigating the impact of shale gas.
The group was listed for the first time on the register of All Party Parliamentary Group released last week.
The register says the group’s purpose was:
“To explore and debate legislation, policy, regulation and data regarding shale gas exploration and extraction in the UK and abroad.”
Mr Rowley, who defeated Labour’s Natasha Engel (a fracking supporter) at the 2017 election, submitted a 10,000-word objection to INEOS’s shale gas plans in the village of Marsh Lane.
In February, he told a meeting of Derbyshire County Council’s planning committee that the company’s proposal for a vertical coring well would not bring any environmental benefits and would breach noise guidelines. He urged councillors to oppose the application:
“It is my view there are 22 different planning policies that this scheme contravenes.
“Please reject this application. There is ample reason to reject on ecology, greenbelt and noise.” Link
The committee voted by nine to one against the scheme, which is to be decided after a public inquiry.
Mr Rowley told the local radio station, Peak FM:
“The application to drill on Bramleymoor Lane, near Marsh Lane, highlighted so many issues and unanswered questions about shale gas and how applications to drill are considered.
“The group will look at the key issues that people have raised about fracking and over the next few months we hope to look at issues such as cumulative impact and the health safety impacts, as well as many other concerns.”
One of the new APPG’s vice chairs is Labour’s Sir Kevin Barron (above left). His Rother Valley constituency includes Woodsetts, another village where INEOS has applied to explore for shale gas and been opposed by local councillors. Details
The other vice-chairs are Labour’s Louise Haigh (Sheffield Heeley) and the Conservative, Ben Bradley (Mansfield).
Ms Heeley told a parliamentary debate on fracking that the Marsh Lane application was the “tip of the iceberg” locally (more details).
Mr Bradley’s constituency is almost entirely covered by an INEOS exploration licence. He took the seat at the 2017 election from Labour’s anti-fracking Sir Alan Meale.
Previous shale gas APPGs
Before the 2017 election, there were two parliamentary groups on shale gas.
The APPG on Unconventional Gas and Oil received support from the industry and supply chain. The other, on shale gas regulation and planning, was chaired by Kevin Hollinrake, whose Thirsk and Malton constituency includes Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton site. This group did not declare any support. Neither have appeared on the APPG register since the election.