New rules to be brought in over fracking

Bianca Jagger speaks at an anti-fracking rally outside the Houses of Parliament.
Bianca Jagger speaks at an anti-fracking rally outside the Houses of Parliament.

Plans for fracking across the UK will face tougher tests following the introduction of new rules over shale gas extraction.

The government has agreed to ammendments to the Infrastructure Bill, meaning firms wanting to drill for gas will now come under greater scrutiny.

It comes after residents living near Misson Springs found out recently that a company called iGas had acquired a site to begin exploration.

Firms like iGas now face stringent tests and inspection following the changes.

Don Valley MP Caroline Flint, who tabled the amendment, proposed thirteen rules that will govern the regulation of shale gas extraction.

Speaking after the Commons victory, she said: “This is a huge u-turn by the Government and big victory for the protection of Britain’s environment. Labour has always said that shale gas extraction cannot go ahead unless there is a system of robust regulation and comprehensive inspection, but David Cameron has repeatedly ignored people’s genuine and legitimate environmental concerns over shale gas. Now, thanks to Labour’s amendment, the Government has been forced to accept that tough protections and proper safeguards must be in place before fracking can go ahead.”

Experts believe that Britain will need gas for decades to come for heating, as well as for electricity generation while renewable sources and technology to capture emissions from power stations are developed.

Ms Flint, a supporter of strong action to tackle climate change, argues while Britain must support moves to cleaner energy, we also need to produce our own energy and safe sustainable gas extraction is one of the options for the future.

As reserves in the North Sea have fallen, the UK has a net importer of gas for the last decade.

Said Caroline: “No one knows how important shale gas will become; and we have only a few exploratory wells so far in the UK. But before this industry develops any further, we need robust safeguards to allay any fears about pollution or safety. That is precisely what our detailed amendment to this Bill does.”