LABOUR tabled amendments yesterday to tighten Britain’s existing fracking regulations for shale gas extraction.
The amendments to the Infrastructure Bill, currently in the House of Lords, comes after shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex published six conditions for shale gas extraction in May 2012.
But despite persistent campaigning from Mr Greatrex and shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint MP, the Tory-led government has ignored Labour’s calls to tighten regulation for shale gas extraction.
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.
In addition, all baseline monitoring will have to take place over a 12-month period.
Mr 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 have ignored genuine and legitimate environmental concerns in pursuit of a rhetoric-led policy.
“More must be done to meet the public acceptability test on shale and other unconventional gas if it is to be an alternative to imported gas from Qatar. People need to have confidence that the regulatory framework protects their health and the environment.
“Labour is pushing the government to close a number of loopholes in the current regulation and put existing good practice onto a statutory footing.”
The shale gas trade association UKOOG has already pledged to implement some of these measures, but Labour argues this does not absolve the government of their responsibility to pass the necessary legislation to protect the public.