From the TUC

Shale: has the Queen misspoken?

05 Jun 2014, by in Environment

Fracking will be one of the first three Bills to go before Parliament. The TUC would have preferred the government’s infrastructure bill to fast track investment in carbon capture and storage technology, rather than accelerating a dash for onshore gas through fracking. Job for job, the case for CCS seems to be far more compelling, as our study with the CCSA shows. CCS lowers carbon emissions. Shale gas could boost greenhouse gas emissions through methane release, a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Real CCS pilot projects are underway in our industrial regions that also offer the prospect of carbon capture for heavy industries like streel making, cement and chemicals.

But, as an FoE briefing argues, the government has smoothed the path for the unconventional gas and oil industry. In the process, it is undermining public participation in energy decision-making through:

  • Removing the responsibility for companies to notify individual landowners of their intention to frack.
  • Underground access: proposing changes to trespass laws that would give fracking companies the right to drill under homes and businesses without permission.
  • Proposing to introduce “standard” environmental permits which will normally remove the right of local people to be consulted.
  • Failing to consult on planning practice guidance which means planning rules override the interests of communities.

 The UK’s most high profile shale gas developer, Cuadrilla Resources, announced  this week that it will submit planning applications for exploratory wells at its site in Lancashire, raising the prospect of a summer of protests against the controversial development.

“Should the Government legislate to provide underground access to gas, oil and geothermal developers below 300 metres?” Respond to the DECC consultation by 15 August 2014.