Thank you for contacting me about fracking, I understand your concerns with this matter and appreciate your correspondence.
Shale gas is a promising new potential energy resource which could reduce our reliance on imported gas and help with keeping energy costs low. It could create thousands of jobs, bring in billions in tax revenues and secure our energy supply for the future. However, let me assure you that I strongly believe fracking operations should be safe, and must not be at the expense of local communities or the environment.
Safety is the top priority of the Government. The UK has over 50 years of experience in regulating the onshore oil and gas industry and we have a strong regulatory regime for shale gas extraction. The Health and Safety Executive is responsible for checking all aspects of operator’s plans and designs. No site will be given the go ahead without first meeting strict safety criteria.
The risk of water contamination is low when the correct regulations are followed. The Environment Agency will work with the Health and Safety Executive to ensure high standards are maintained and that the quality of our water is properly protected. The Environment Agency will make an assessment of any chemicals an operator proposes to use in fracking and will not authorise the use of hazardous substances where there is an unacceptable risk they would enter groundwater.
Water for fracking operations has been provided by local water companies, which are obligated to produce and update a long-term plan every five years that has contingency reserves in case of a drought. Therefore water companies will assess the amount of water available before providing it to operators.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Member of Parliament for Peterborough