David Morris (Morecambe and Lunesdale, Conservative)
Hear, hear! I agree with everything that my hon. Friend said.
We have all seen things go wrong in certain parts of America, but we must also bear in mind that last year the Americans drilled 45,000 wells, with very few problems. They are also operating much older wells that exist in a less strict regulatory environment than here in the UK. That must be understood. I hope that we can benefit from their success and, most importantly, learn from their mistakes.
Today we stand at the beginning of a revolution in UK gas production. We have a community with the expertise. Lancaster university, the nuclear power industry and small and medium-sized enterprises are already geared up to exploit that resource and we look forward to falling energy bills as a result. I hope that the Minister can clarify my concerns. Most of all, will he assure me that DECC is doing everything it can to push this project forward in a safe and responsible way? That is the road to a safe, profitable and cheap supply of energy for the 21st century.