Fracking – Green Question Time 2015

On 10th April we hosted a Green Question Time, attended by Steven Jackson (Conservative) and Angela Smith (Labour) and chaired by Paul Bridges.
Here is the question about fracking:

What is your position on fracking?

Steven Jackson for webI am staggered by the potential quantities of oil and gas and the potential for jobs and investment. But we need more information – what works in the US and Canada may not work in the UK.

Fracking should be decided locally. All fracking operations would need environmental permits based on full environmental impact assessments. Monitoring of each site for a full 12 month period prior to approval should be required, to assess for earth tremors and pollution of water aquifers.

Angela Smith for webI am sceptical about the figures for value and job creation – no one knows how much shale oil and gas there is and it is easy to overestimate the potential. Fracking is faltering in the US due to falling prices of coal and oil and the industry could collapse.

A robust and rigorous regulatory framework for environmental protection is in place, thanks to a House of Commons vote which defeated a Conservative move to a laxer system of regulation. The first requirement is a baseline assessment. Labour will complete the safeguards so that drinking water would be protected and there would be no fracking in National Parks.

However, there may be a place for fracking within the constraints of keeping below a 2oC temperature rise and ensuring energy security. It could be used to replace coal, before carbon capture and storage is fully introduced, as shale gas is less polluting than coal. 70% of gas will be imported by 2025 and we could use our own fracked gas instead. We would only do fracking if it meant we could still keep within the 2oC climate change target.

Audience Comments

The evidence from Oklahoma suggest earthquakes are caused by fracking

Fracking is a big user of water and the South East of England is frequently short of water



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