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Fracking: Water

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 4th February 2020.

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Photo of Stephen Morgan Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister for Local Government (Communities), Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of regulatory protections for people handling fracking waste water contents (brine) from the effects of radium.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The current regulatory framework covering dangers posed by radioactive substances such as radium includes the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (IRR17). The regulatory provisions to protect workers were recently reviewed as part of the process of introducing IRR17, which replaced the previous version of the Ionising Radiations Regulations.

The Health and Safety Executive is therefore satisfied that these arrangements are sufficient and has no current plans to make any further assessment of their adequacy.

More widely, through the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016, the Environment Agency (EA) consider the radiological impact of exposure to the public from radioactive waste as part of its assessment of applications for environmental permits at disposal sites. The EA will not issue a permit unless a company can demonstrate how it will provide a high level of protection to people and the environment.

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