Methane

Department for Energy and Climate Change written question – answered on 12th January 2016.

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Photo of Chris Matheson Chris Matheson Labour, City of Chester

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what initial assessment she has made of the implications of the incident at Porter Ranch, California, for safety and engineering procedures and standards in the UK onshore unconventional gas extraction sector.

Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

In the UK, we have an entirely different regulatory system to the US.

We have over 50 years of experience in safely conducting surface activities and constructing onshore gas wells, regulated by the Health & Safety Executive and Environment Agency.

Our tough regulations ensure on-site safety, prevent water contamination, mitigate seismic activity and air pollution. To reinforce our already robust regulations, the Infrastructure Act 2015 introduced a range of further requirements that must be met before an operator can carry out hydraulic fracturing in a responsible, sustainable and safe manner. These include the assessment of environmental impacts, groundwater monitoring, community benefits and prohibiting hydraulic fracturing in specified protected areas.

The UK has one of the best track records in the world when it comes to protecting our environment while also developing our industries – and we’ve brought that experience to bear on the shale gas protections.

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