Energy: Fracking

House of Lords written question – answered on 15th January 2014.

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Photo of Lord Hunt of Chesterton Lord Hunt of Chesterton Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in their review of fracking, they predicted and costed the requirements both of clean water and of cleaning the water discharged by the process, and also the requirement for new roadways to and from the fracking areas.

Photo of Baroness Verma Baroness Verma The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

The Government has recently published for public consultation an Environmental Report as part of the process of conducting a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for further onshore oil and gas licensing in Great Britain. This assesses the potential environmental impacts of activities which may be carried out on further licences, on the basis of scenarios of high and low activity for both conventional and unconventional oil and gas. It includes estimates of water consumption and waste water volumes of these scenarios. It does not assess the costs of water supply and water treatment, both of which would fall on the licence holders. The Report can be accessed at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/environmental-report-for-further-onshore-oil-and-gas-licensing.

It is not possible at the SEA stage to make any assessment of requirements for new roadways, as those requirements will be entirely dependent on the specific locations of the activities which may subsequently be proposed and the proximity of those locations to existing roads. Those locations are not ascertainable at this stage.

Oil and gas licences do not convey permission for any actual activities. Such permission depends, among other things, on compliance with all relevant regulatory requirements. In particular, it depends on the obtaining of planning permission. All relevant land use issues, including the implications of the proposed activities for relevant roads, will be taken into account by the relevant planning authority, and the proposals will be subject to public consultation, before any decision is made on the grant of planning permission.

The Environmental Report is open for public consultation until 28 March 2014. All responses to the consultation will be carefully considered before Ministers make any decision about further onshore licensing.

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