To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 10 April (HL15067), in the event that any and all “other appropriate parties”, including other licensees or landowners, failed to decommission and return a fracking site to its former state, who would ultimately bear the financial burden.
There is no precedent for the scenario above arising, in respect of hydraulically fractured wells in the UK.
The Government has been clear that the responsibility for decommissioning lies with the licensee and has sought to reinforce this principle. For example, as set out in the Written Answer of 10 April (HL15067) that as part of the associated application for Hydraulic Fracturing Consent, the Government looks at the financial resilience of all companies wishing to carry out hydraulic fracturing operations, including their ability to fund decommissioning costs. My rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State will not issue Hydraulic Fracturing Consent unless he is satisfied this has been appropriately demonstrated.
To date, there have only been two hydraulically fractured shale gas wells in the UK. The first, at Cuadrilla’s Preese Hall site in Lancashire, has been fully decommissioned and the land restored to its previous use. The second, Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road well-1z, is still operational.