Government must not relax fracking laws, says CPRE
PUBLISHED: 13:21 03 June 2014
Regulation should be increasing, not decreasing
The Campaign to Protect Rural England has called for the Government to ditch proposals that would exclude small scale fracking from environmental regulation.
Fracking – the process of drilling down into the earth to recover gas and oil – is controversial for many reasons, including concerns that carcinogenic chemicals could escape during the procedure, and worries that it can cause minor earthquakes. Environmental campaigners also say the government needs to be investing in renewable sources of energy.
Two weeks ago, it was revealed that 4.4 billion barrels of oil were estimated to be under the Weald Basin.
Senior energy campaigner Nick Clack said: “Environmental hazards exist from even small scale activities — the escape of 200 tonnes of oil at a sensitive site, such as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or close to a water course or major aquifer, could be disastrous.
“It is extraordinary that the Government should be proposing to do this at a time when exploratory drilling for oil is about to take off and when public confidence in the safety of fracking is so low.
“It is unclear what has changed to justify the proposed exemption, particularly in light of the major uncertainties surrounding shale exploration, and the novel use of fracking onshore.
“Ministers need to wake up to the national lack of confidence about the oil and gas industry’s willingness and ability to safely undertake fracking and prevent environmental harm. It should be seeking to bolster public confidence in the quality of its regulatory and monitoring regimes, rather than removing existing regulation.