Ministers quizzed on fracking, climate change and conflicts of interest

Politicians have asked ministers about new fracking licences, the role of shale gas in UK energy and potential conflicts of interest for climate advisors.

Photo: DrillOrDrop

The Liberal Democrat peer, Lord Greaves, asked whether the government planned to issue new exploration licences for shale gas and what advice was provided to existing licence holders.

The energy minister, Lord Callanan, said licences were issued by the Oil & Gas Authority. He also said the government’s moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in England was set out in a written ministerial from November 2019. He said:

“the shale gas industry should take the Government’s position into account when considering new developments.”

In response to another question by Lord Greaves on the contribution of shale gas to UK energy needs, Lord Callanan said the most recent report on security of energy supply did not include hydraulically fractured shale gas in any of its assessments.

The Lib Dem MP, Wera Hobhouse, asked the energy secretary what steps he was taking to ensure there were no conflicts of interest on the Climate Change Committee, the government’s advisor, and on other official advisory boards. This question is due to be answered early next week.

7 replies »

  1. It is about time the government took climate change seriously and not just paid lip service to it. Ban fracking in the UK and stop funding the oil and gas industries.Oh, and NO coal mines.

    • Hi Kim – you want to increase VAT on electricity and natural gas? From current 5% to what – 20%? This is the main fossil fuel subsidy in the UK. However it will also impact renewables generated electricity and any green gas which may get into the grid. Or would you like to just increase the VAT on fossil fuel generated electricity? I look forward to reading how you propose this will be done….


      Even Guardian readers agree that the UK is one of the world leaders in reducing carbon emissions – do the facts not indicate successive UK Governments taking climate change seriously? 2019 used as last year is a false indicator due to Covid 19.



      Check out 2010 – 2019 – after the Government changed from Red to Blue….

    • Well, Kim, maybe stop funding £1.5 billion/year for wood pellet use? Or stop subsidising EVs, that cost the Treasury around £1k each in lost fuel and vehicle tax each year?

      With fuel duty alone raising £28 billion in taxation every year, perhaps you would like to suggest where that revenue will come from without oil? Crowd funding?

  2. Note the absence of any mention of (fracked) gas and oil in Alok Sharma’s recently published ‘priorities’ in the year of Cop26, the aim for Sharma being ‘net zero’. Coal gets some treatment: he’s on safer ground with his party here, one suspects. Notwithstanding the moratorium, government’s real intentions concerning fossil fuels remain a closely guarded secret, the waters tested every so often. I believe it’s called ‘transparency’ these days.

    • Perhaps the government has finally realised that the oil and gas are not going to gush, contrary to the claims made by Sanderson et al. The views of David Smythe and others seem to have been vindicated.

      • I really hope you’re right, Malcolm, but that’s to attribute a lot of perspicacity to a government not renowned for it. My own guess is that they are retaining the readiness to exploit without being open about it. This seems to me more in character and consistent with their inability or unwillingness to draw the obvious conclusions on so many fronts.

  3. Well, perhaps there is no mention because it simply is not part of the plan?

    Quite usual within any plans not to include those bits that are not part of the plan.

    Shock/horror-there might not be any need for any protests regarding this non issue. How will a few fill their days?

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