I beg to move,
That this House
has considered local involvement in shale gas development.
Thank you for your guidance at the start of this well-attended debate, Mr Hollobone. Many right hon. and hon. Members have been emailed by constituents asking them to come along and support Mark Menzies in his debate. If it is any consolation, I, too, have been emailed by constituents asking me to come along and support Mark Menzies in his debate. I assure those constituents that I am supporting Mark Menzies in his debate.
Throughout my time as a Member of Parliament, I have lived with shale gas. I have seen several sites in my constituency developed, and some have been developed and abandoned. I could talk about that for some time. When I was elected in 2010, it came as a surprise that in 2008 the previous Labour Government had awarded a shale gas exploration licence for the area that covers my constituency and some of my neighbouring constituencies. At the time, it was not well known about and the level of awareness was quite low. The company did not even have a website, so finding out what was going on took some doing.
Since its introduction in the UK, shale gas extraction has become a contentious issue. Individuals on both sides offer passionate arguments, as I have witnessed throughout my tenure as a Member of Parliament. My contribution today will largely focus on the proposed planning changes that have been out for consultation.