Thank you for contacting me about fracking in National Parks.
I fully understand and appreciate people’s concerns about fracking, but let me reassure you that the UK has a strong regulatory regime for exploratory activities and the Government will seek to continuously improve it as the industry develops. With this protection in place, I think it is right that we explore and make use of shale gas and oil. The opportunity to extract this energy, as well as to secure jobs and investment, cannot be ignored.
Rest assured, the Government will only allow the development of a shale gas industry in a safe way, both for the environment and local people. There are plenty of legal safeguards, through the Infrastructure Act 2015 and other measures that will protect some of the country’s most beautiful areas from fracking. As a result of these regulations, fracking cannot take place at depths of less than 1,200 metres under our most sensitive areas. The Government has also banned fracking wells and drills from being placed within National Parks, in order to safeguard some of our most precious landscapes. I am confident that these measures will protect our most valuable areas for the future.
Acidisation is a common technique carried out to clean and develop wells. It is widely used in the water industry and the oil and gas industry. The Government’s approach in this area is guided by the Environment Agency which has regulatory controls in place to protect people and the environment. Rest assured, if the proposed activity poses an unacceptable risk to the environment it will not be permitted.
The UK has one of the best track records in the world when it comes to protecting the environment while also developing our industries, and Ministers have assured me that that this experience will be brought to bear on the shale gas protections. The industry will be developed safely with world class environmental protections, creating jobs and delivering better energy security, while all the time safeguarding some of our most precious landscapes.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.