Second reading quotes

Richard Burden, Labour, Birmingham Northfield
Other industries requiring underground access—such as coal mining, water, sewerage, and gas transportation pipelines—already have underground access rights without requiring the landowner’s permission. In principle, we do not oppose the reforms to underground access. However, we will continue to push for the environmental framework to be strengthened, and for assurances that the responsibility for clean-up costs and the liability for any untoward consequences rest fairly and squarely with the industry, not with taxpayers or homeowners.”

“Important regulatory questions must be answered before large-scale extraction can begin, but Conservative Ministers have so far chosen to ignore those legitimate environmental concerns rather than address them and provide safeguards for communities. That is why we will table amendments to close a number of loopholes in the existing regulatory framework.”

“We are taking a responsible approach. People will have confidence that shale gas is a safe and reliable source only if this Government provide robust regulations, set out a comprehensive monitoring process, and ensure strict enforcement of exploration and extraction. Sadly, we heard no such assurances from the Minister.”

Jonathan Edwards, Plaid ~Cymru, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr
The Smith commission, which is engaged in a cross-party process in Scotland, has made the case that powers over onshore oil and gas licensing should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. Over the weekend, the Welsh Labour Government made the case that they should have similar powers. Will the United Kingdom Government use this Bill to enact the promises made to the people of Scotland and the wishes of the Welsh Government?”

Kate Green, Labour Stretford and Urmston

“[There is a] need for adequate safety and regulation that really does offer reassurance to people. And the need for transparency around that safety regime.”

“There is far too much denial and secrecy, quite frankly, Mr Deputy Speaker, in our experience where there has been exploratory drilling and that denial and secrecy or non-acknowledgement of activity frankly fuels further alarm.”

John Hayes, Minister of State at the Department for Transport
The shale gas industry in the UK is at an embryonic stage, and the changes in the Bill would simplify the procedure by which onshore gas and oil and deep geothermal developers can obtain underground drilling access, and are accompanied by the industry’s commitment to pay communities in return for the right to use deep-level land. We do not yet know what is commercially viable, but we are encouraging exploration. These provisions will help us address this question to ensure that the regulation is compatible with these new methods of underground drilling.”

“There has been a great deal of unfounded scaremongering on the environmental impacts of shale gas, much of it based on examples from other jurisdictions. The Bill does not alter the involvement of local authority planners; nor does it erode in any way the strength of our regulatory regime, the effectiveness of which has been demonstrated over 50 years of development, which is one of the strictest and safest in the world.”

Charles Hendry, conservative, Wealden
The best way to deliver the toughest standards is by putting an unlimited obligation on companies to meet them, and by using the best technology and skills available to do so. That has put us in a position where our system is trusted, and people from across the world look at it to understand how well such a system can work. I hope that in this debate and in the wider debate on shale, we can start to differentiate the legitimate concerns about the transportation of liquids, what is injected and water management from the wholly bogus claims that are often made.”

Nick Herbert, Conservative, Arundel and South Downs

“Two sets of issues related to fracking concern local communities, and I think that we should try to separate them. First, there are the environmental concerns about the impact of the activity that takes place below ground. As many Members on both sides of the House have said, those concerns need to be addressed by means of proper regulation and controls, and we should discuss the importance of ensuring that they are adequate.”

“Secondly, there are the issues that relate to what happens on the surface, and the choice of sites for drilling. In my constituency, the choice of sites has been crucial. Opposition to the drilling does not just come from communities who are concerned about the environmental impact below the ground. Rural communities fear that they will experience significant lorry movements through their villages—which they would not otherwise have experienced—over an extended period. Wise site location which minimises disruption to communities on the surface is a second way in which the industry could address much of the concern about these proposals.”

“We now have a specific proposal in this legislation on trespass, which seeks to deal with the land ownership issues. That comes against the background of great concern about the activity. It is true that members of the public have largely misheard the proposals so far. In my constituency, I fear that many people believe that the proposals will license invasion on the surface of their land by those who wish to drill, without them giving permission and without any of the regulatory controls which exist. The Government must continue to reassure local people that in fact these proposals relate to deep subterranean activity and do not change any of the requirements for permission to be given by a landowner as to whether they want drilling on their land, nor any of the regulatory requirements.”

Martin Horwood, Liberal Democrat, Cheltenham

“Is the Minister aware of a new report by Anna Grear, of Cardiff law school, which was commissioned by the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, which deals with the rights to, in particular, a fair hearing and public participation, and which casts some doubt on the Secretary of State’s bold statement on the front of the Bill that all human rights legislation is complied with in the case of fracking?”

Barbara Keeley, Labour, Worsley and Eccles South

“My constituency includes the community of Barton Moss, where a six-month exploration for shale gas took place from November to May. That was dumped on frightened communities and people as a result of a 2012 planning application for coalbed methane gas. There was no reassurance.”

“The Government should be determined to do the right and the safe thing by communities, but they are not doing so. They are determined to have this rushed through. Indeed, the Prime Minister is determined to win the debate on shale gas. My constituents suffered for the best part of six months from exploration for shale gas. Businesses lost money and people could not sell their homes, yet the whole issue of compensation was never dealt with, and it was the same with the policing of protests. The community in Greater Manchester suffered by having to pay for the policing of the protests, and local people were really damaged by what went on at Barton Moss.”

“The key point is that none of the arrangements up to now has helped to compensate people in that position by one jot. Random schemes that provide some funding here and there are not the answer; the compensation should go to the people who were hurt.”

Peter Lilley, Conservative, Hitchin and Harpenden

“The organised opposition to shale gas drilling is part of a wider attack on fossil fuels. There is a legitimate case for opposing all drilling for oil and gas if we believe that hydrocarbons should be left in the ground to prevent emissions of carbon dioxide.”

“But of course they know they are not going to persuade the people of Britain to give up using fossil fuels because out whole economy is based on it. If we were to try and transform our economy ….away from fossil fuels it will impoverish us and be enormously disruptive.”

“Those who cannot get that argument over therefore make it their duty to deploy unfounded scare stories and exaggerate them.”

“Why on earth is it a sin to drill a hole a mile from where we live and separated from us by a mile of rock, when we do not prevent people from walking through woods as long as they cause no damage? I think we can dismiss the trespass argument. Of course, if there is damage on the surface from such activities, it is right and proper that people are compensated for that disturbance.”

Caroline Lucas, Green, Brighton Pavilion

“They keep talking about the importance of having public buy in to fracking and yet they are simply not listening on this.”

“An effective response to climate change requires a complete shift to a carbon-neutral energy system within a generation in all the major economies including Britain. And we know how to do it. We have the technology, we have the engineering capacity and we can afford to do it. All we need is the political will because we cannot do it while making ourselves more, not less dependent on any kind of fossil fuel”

Ian Lucas, Labour, Wrexham

“It doesn’t seem to me … that the government has been at all listening to what constituents have been saying on this particular issue. For them, shale gas extraction appears to be something that they are determined to pursue, whatever the consequences.”

“There is real frustration that local decisions have been overridden … and have been replaced by those of the planning inspector. “

“This government needs to speak out loud and clear and make absolutely clear that it will not countenance fracking unless it can be shown that it is a safe process. “

“At present there is no process for those views to be taken properly into account. So can the minister please explain how local people’s concerns such as this will be expressed by the planning and the regulatory process?”

John Mann, Labour, Bassetlaw

“There should be nothing within 2km of a settlement. There is enough land there. Those who are speculating for shale gas are saying that the whole of England pretty much can be covered. It doesn’t need to be near any of the villages and conurbations in my area thank you very much and the public agrees with that.

“If the community wants to vote for it, fine, I don’t have a problem with that. But if my communities say we don’t want any of this fracking, thank you very much and we don’t want this shale gas or coal bed methane in our communities, do it somewhere else, we should have the right to make that decision.

Mark Menzies, Conservative, Fylde

“I will support this bill in 2nd reading tonight but if we are unable in committee stage to really improve the regulation and if I don’t get assurances abo8ut how that regulatory regime will be enforced then I will be unable to the bill as it makes further progress.”

“If we get to a point when this can’t be done safely then the only way to proceed with this is to say thank you very much but it is not right for us.”

“If that planning committee [considering Cuadrilla’s applications] as a result of due deliberations feels that rejection of one or both sites is the right thing to do then we must accept that will and it would be quite wrong for the process of judicial reviews and of central government seeking to overturn that to be triggered.”

“If local councillors feel they take the right decision on this we must live by those decisions. There can be no easy way out and some expectation that someone further up the food chain will take an alternative decision for you. No is no and that is where we have to be.”

“I have worked for the last four years in order to highlight concerns of my local residents. The caveat of my support has always been to make sure that the regulation is robust and this can be done safely. And if that cannot be done safely then we cannot do it at all.”

Eric Ollerenshaw, Conservative, Lancaster and Fleetwood

“If you want to win this particular argument and the political and the community argument, the less reference that is made to the depredations of coal [the better].”

“I have no ideological reason against it [fracking]. If this industry does happen then unlike coal and unlike other massive developments there should be a real return to the people most affected by it.”

“I don’t honestly believe that putting these kinds of clauses in this complicated bill will in any way win anybody over in my part of Lancashire that to have some confidence that their concerns are being dealt with effectively.”

“Ministers should have come forward with much more definite answers in terms of what are the returns for people in Lancashire putting up with this new industry.”

“I will not be able to support this part of the bill”

Mark Pawsey, Conservative, Rugby

“We need to address the issues of fracking in order to get energy prices down and provide businesses to be competitive with remainder of the world”

Chris Pincher, Conservative, Tamworth

“We must address those concerns [of communities where fracking may take place] soberly and sensibly. We have to be careful that we do not allow concerns snowball into scaremongering.”

“Fracking in itself does not pollute the water supply.”

Joan Walley, Labour, Stoke on Trent

“We risk increasing emissions at exactly the time when they should be rapidly reduced. So given that fracking will add to unburnable carbon and that it will not meet the two recommendations from the IPCC on coal and on methane claims that shale gas can reduce emissions do not stand up to scrutiny.”

“It is worrying that government is pressing ahead in deregulation when the evidence points to the need for a stronger not weaker regulatory framework.”

Stephen Williams, communities and local government minister

“The government will listen very carefully to all concerns during the committee and report stage and seek to address those concerns during the passage through parliament.”

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