We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Report (3rd Day)

Part of Infrastructure Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 7:00 pm on 10th November 2014.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Whitty Lord Whitty Labour 7:00 pm, 10th November 2014

My Lords, those who oppose these amendments are missing the point. The amendments may well be in the wrong place; they may well be too wide. I did not intervene in the previous debate because I thought that it was becoming far too polarised. Public opinion on the issue of fracking is polarised, but public opinion is not polarised in relation to the protection of our national parks and our areas of outstanding natural beauty. Unless the Government in some way recognise within the overall approach to fracking that there are certain sites which have to be protected—whatever provision exists elsewhere in terms of general planning law and so forth—the outcry against fracking will grow rather than be reduced.

The Government should at least have the grace to recognise that that is a reality. In terms of public acceptability of fracking, protection of our protected areas is an important element which needs to be in the regulations and in the Bill. Whether the amendments in the name of the noble Baroness are technically in the right place or not, the politics and the PR for fracking need to make that point. If they do not, the 25% of people who fundamentally oppose fracking will grow in number. The Government have the opportunity to ensure that that does not happen. I hope that, if not now then in the process of this Bill through the Commons, the Government will put that right.