Shortly after our last article on Robert Jenrick’s position on the Infrastructure Bill committee, the bill then went to all MPs to debate the issue. Just before this, the cross-party Environmental Audit Committee produced a report calling for a moratorium on fracking because it was inconsistent with the UK’s legal duties to limit global climate change. It also said fracking should be halted because of uncertainties about other risks to the environment. More on this here.
MPs then voted on a moratorium to ban fracking for 2 and half years. The result of this was 52 MPs voting for and 308 against with a majority of Labour MPs abstaining. In local terms, the only MP that voted for a moratorium was Bassetlaw MP, John Mann.
The final result is that the Government has now accepted 13 of Labour’s amendments. These are:
Any hydraulic fracturing activity can not take place:
- unless an environmental impact assessment has been carried out;
- unless independent inspections are carried out of the integrity of wells used;
- unless monitoring has been undertaken on the site over the previous 12 month period;
- unless site-by-site measurement, monitoring and public disclosure of existing and future fugitive emissions is carried out;
- in land which is located within the boundary of a groundwater source protection zone;
- within or under protected areas;
- in deep-level land at depths of less than 1,000 metres;
- unless planning authorities have considered the cumulative impact of hydraulic fracturing activities in the local area;
- unless a provision is made for community benefit schemes to be provided by companies engaged in the extraction of gas and oil rock;
- unless residents in the affected area are notified on an individual basis;
- unless substances used are subject to approval by the Environment Agency
- unless land is left in a condition required by the planning authority, and
- unless water companies are consulted by the planning authority
Even though these amendments have been approved by government, they must now go to the House of Lords – this is bad news as they could possibly be weakened down.
On the local issue, in Misson Springs, where IGas plan to explore for shale gas, the proposed site is just opposite a Groundwater Protection Zone, and also has an SSSI next to it, but they can still drill. We’ll be watching as these approved amendments now go to the House of Lords