Labour, the main UK opposition party, yesterday demanded tougher regulations on shale gas exploration in a bid to give people “confidence” that the technology is safe.
Shale gas exploration is currently supported by all three major UK parties as well as the new populist UKiP party. The Conservatives have repeatedly voiced their intention to ‘go all out on shale’, altering legislation to make Britain more attractive to exploration companies – a deeply unpopular move which, according to some, could cost them the next election.
Labour party – although also supportive of fracking – has made it clear that it intends to be tougher on shale exploration companies, demanding additional measures to ensure that the extraction process is safe. The party has presented proposed changes to the Infrastructure Bill in the House of Lords, according to its emailed statement.
“The amendments would require well-by-well disclosure of the frack fluid, baseline monitoring of methane levels in the groundwater and Environmental Impact Assessments for all fracking sites and the inclusion of water companies as statutory consultees in the planning process,” the opposition party said in the statement. “In addition, all baseline monitoring will have to take place over a 12-month period.”
Commenting on the proposed amendments, the shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex said, “Shale gas extraction must only be permitted to happen in the UK with robust regulation and comprehensive monitoring. Too often, David Cameron’s government has ignored genuine and legitimate environmental concerns in pursuit of a rhetoric-led policy.
“With eight out of ten homes still reliant on gas for heating, and with declining North Sea gas reserves, shale may have a role to play in displacing imported gas. The type of relentless hype from many Tories not only overplays the likely impact of shale, but also leaves many feeling their concerns have not been properly addressed.”
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