To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate he has made of the number of landfill sites needed to dispose of (a) waste water sludge, (b) sand and (c) filter cake produced from (i) hydraulic fracturing operations and (ii) associated water treatment in the event that the industry develops as proposed in the Government's energy policy.
The UK shale gas industry is at the very early stages of exploration and we do not yet know how much shale gas it will be possible to technologically and commercially extract from UK shale reserves. In order to determine the potential of the industry and the benefits it could bring the UK, we need exploration to go ahead, and Government encourages this. Further exploration will be needed to determine the number of landfill sites required to dispose of waste water sludge, sand and filter cake which would be created by future shale gas development. Future waste treatment capacity and its expansion to meet hydraulic fracturing needs is a matter for the industry.
Under Environmental Permitting Regulations, shale gas operators are required to check the capacity of appropriate waste disposal facilities. If operators cannot demonstrate an appropriate disposal route to the Environment Agency during the environmental permitting process, it is likely to refuse their application.