Department for Energy and Climate Change written question – answered on 5th February 2015.

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Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what criteria must be met for a person to be eligible to perform the role of independent well examiner for a hydraulic fracturing development.

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Portsmouth, The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

There is a legal requirement for the well operator to appoint an independent well examiner for the complete lifecycle of the well. UK regulations establish the level of independence required in that the examiner can be from the same company as the well operator but must be separate from any management and financial systems that could compromise objectivity. To date onshore operators have used separate companies to supply this service, they have not been delivered in-house.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors are made aware of the identity of the independent well examiner and will consider their level of competence and independence as part of the inspection of the well examination scheme for each onshore oil or gas well. If there is any concern about the level of competence or independence of the well examiner HSE inspectors will investigate and take appropriate action.

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