Fracking September 2016
Thank you for contacting me recently regarding the Government's regulations on fracking. I share your concerns about the Government's weak regulations, which allow for fracking to take place below national parks and other protected areas, and which I voted against.
I believe we should have a moratorium on fracking in Britain until we can be sure it is safe and won't present intolerable risks to our environment. In my view the Government is ignoring people's legitimate concerns and imposing fracking on communities.
When the Infrastructure Bill was being debated during the last Parliament, my Shadow Frontbench colleagues tabled an amendment to introduce tough environmental standards before any shale gas drilling could go ahead. This included a ban on fracking in areas where drinking water is collected and protected sensitive areas like our national parks or important wildlife sites.
At the time, the Coalition Government accepted this amendment. However, Ministers backtracked and tabled a redrafted amendment which removed a number of protections, notably the ban on drilling in or under national parks and where drinking water supplies are too close by. Unfortunately these weaker regulations formed part of the Infrastructure Act.
I am concerned about the recent decision by North Yorkshire County Council to allow the first fracking operation in the UK for five years on a site just outside the village of Kirby Misperotn. It is a controversial decision and many environmental groups have said that the councillors did not properly assess climate change as they did not consider the environmental impact of burning gas extracted to create electricity at a nearby power station. They also said that the council failed to secure long-term financial protection against environmental damage. I hope that the case will be now reviewed by the High Court.
Thank you again for writing to me and sharing your views. I certainly hope that the Nottingham County Council will not allowed any dangerous fracking in Nottinghamshire.