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York MP Raises Fracking Fears

Julian Sturdy 210613

11:20am 12th May 2014

York Outer MP Julian Sturdy has expressed his reservations about an influential cross-party Committee in the House of Lords calling for the “unnecessarily complicated” regulations around shale gas extraction to be “streamlined”.

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee Report on the Economic Impact on UK Energy Policy of Shale Gas and Oil was published yesterday with a series of recommendations for Government. The report states that ‘Exploration and appraisal of the UK's shale resource base have been too slow’ and recommends that ‘the Government should amend relevant legislation to ensure that subsurface drilling for oil and gas can go ahead without undue delay or cost’.

Fracking has revolutionised the North American gas market, where gas prices are now a third of British prices. Whilst the Report notes that it is impossible to know exactly how much shale gas exists under the UK, estimates range up to a forty year supply, reducing our dependence on energy from the Middle East and Russia and bringing new jobs and industry into the country. The Report concludes that ‘Shale gas and oil are a potential economic prize which the UK should grasp without further delay. Exploration, appraisal and then development of the United Kingdom's substantial shale gas and oil resources is an urgent national priority.

Responding to the report, Mr Sturdy reminded key decision-makers that whilst he welcomes jobs and investment in the region, “any development must be achieved in a sustainable manner with minimal disruption to local residents and the countryside. The UK now has the one of the most stringent regulatory regimes anywhere in the world and shale gas extraction should only take place once the necessary consents are obtained from the Department for Energy and Climate Change, the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive, and the City of York Council.“

Mr Sturdy went on to say “it is essential that we take the necessary steps to safeguard our communities and agricultural land around the outskirts of York, and so I would exercise caution over calls to speed up the process. It is extremely important that local communities are afforded the opportunity to fully consider and to have their say on any proposals that may affect their local area. Ultimately a common sense approach must prevail.”

A copy of the House of Lords Report can be accessed here:

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