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Report (3rd Day)

Part of Infrastructure Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 10th November 2014.

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Photo of Lord Marland Lord Marland Conservative 5:45 pm, 10th November 2014

My Lords, it gives me great pleasure to re-engage in this debate. In particular, I wish the noble Baroness, Lady Worthington, better health and applaud her braveness for coming in today. I had the great pleasure of opposing her, or being opposed by her, for quite some time, as Members will know. There was never anything between us. In fact, when we took the Energy Bill through the House, there was very little between us—and there is not now with these amendments. I am taken by the noble Lord, Lord Lipsey, who believes that these are probing amendments. I, too, believe that they are probing amendments.

There is nothing between us because, as the noble Baroness said in her opening remarks, she was in favour of fracking. She also said that it had to be properly regulated. We have heard in the debate, particularly from the noble Lords, Lord Teverson and Lord Jenkin, that we have the best regulation in the world for this part of the industry. To overdo regulation is to kill it. What it will kill is our ability to progress economically as a nation, as the two noble Lords on the opposite Benches have said; it will not enable us to have fuel security, which fracking gives us the opportunity to have; and it will not enable us to have cheap fuel in our homes. For people in this country these are the critical things that matter to the future of this economy and country. I am therefore delighted that the Government have taken on the work started four-and-a-half years ago in this field. It is fundamental to us all that we press on with it. The longer we debate it and get carried away in different directions from the core issues, the longer it will take to get this country back and going.