Amber Rudd, the new UK Energy secretary said in an interview given to the national broadsheet The Sunday Times, that the Conservative government will speed up the extraction of shale gas in the UK
It is generally agreed that the results of the General Elections on the 7th May, choosing the Conservatives as the ruling party, was the best possible outcome for the fledgeling British shale industry.
“With a Conservative majority I believe we’ll be able to deliver shale, as we’ve always wanted to do, in a safe but beneficial way,” Ms Rudd said.
When it comes to exploring shale deposits under national parks, Ms Rudd said that secondary legislation will have to be introduced. She said that while shale gas extraction under national parks will be permitted, drilling will remain banned, meaning the wells would have to be outside areas of groundwater and outstanding natural beauty.
“We have protected groundwater source areas and [prevented] national park drilling. I will make sure that we go out of our way to demonstrate to people the safety elements of it,” she said.
In January, the then-Coalition government agreed to the Opposition Labour Party’s 13-point programme to close environmental loopholes in shale gas regulations.
Among the newly introduced protections was a clause that ruled out fracking in national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs), sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) and groundwater source protection zones (SPZs). Following the introduction of the measures, a national newspaper calculated that almost 40 per cent of UK land available for shale drilling will have to be excluded because of the newly-adopted environmental protections.
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