To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the environmental risks of shale oil drilling in the south east of England.
The Environment Agency has assessed the environmental risks associated with drilling for onshore for oil and gas, including shale oil. Any operator proposing to drill for oil or gas onshore in England must apply for one or more permits from the Environment Agency, depending on the activities involved, as well as holding a Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence from the Oil and Gas Authority and applying for planning permission from the Minerals Planning Authority. The Environment Agency will only grant permits if it is satisfied that drilling will be carried out in a way that protects people and the environment. The permits place legally binding conditions on how drilling is carried out to protect groundwater, surface water and air quality and to ensure the safe storage, management and disposal of waste.