Let’s Talk about Fracking: The Tory government continue to offer subsidies to fracking companies whilst removing safeguards to protect the environment and citizens

The debate on fracking is contentious and heated. Simply put: citizens are worried that fracking raises real environmental and health related concerns. These are issues that the Labour Party and I share.

In the short/medium term gas is necessary for the UK, however, I do not share the Tories desire to advance fracking, regardless of environmental and local concerns.

My position is clear: unless fracking companies undergo strict and rigorous environmental tests, then fracking should be halted.

What do these tests include: A stringent examination of fracking wells on the environment, and the ban of fracking around areas of environmental sensitivity, including National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and all levels of water protection zones.

In Europe, Labour MEPs passed legislation for fracking to undergo strict environmental examinations, also known as Environmental Impact Assessments. Similarly, in the UK, Labour MPs secured 13 environmental conditions on fracking, ensuring that exploration did not damage individuals, communities or local habitats.

However, upon entering government, the Tories radically changed these conditions, weakening environmental legislation and reducing safeguards. Consequently, the strict fracking guidance Labour fought to secure has either been abolished or severely undermined.

I cannot endorse the development of fracking exploration and production under these circumstances. This is in line with the European Parliament, who voted to acknowledge public concerns about fracking and the negative consequences of such technology. Find a link to the report on fracking below, alongside the European Parliaments exact position.

I believe it is unsafe to proceed without fundamental safeguards, and call for a suspension on fracking in the UK and EU. Ultimately, I will continue to push for strict fracking guidelines on an EU and national level, thus ensuring the safety of citizens, workers and the environment.

 

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http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+REPORT+A8-2015-0341+0+DOC+PDF+V0//EN

While recognising that the energy mix is primarily a Member State competence, acknowledges the public concerns about hydraulic fracturing and consequences this technology might entail for the climate, environment and public health and the achievement of the EU’s long term decarbonisation goal; furthermore recognises that the limited potential of unconventional fuels to help meet the EU’s future energy demand, coupled with high investment and exploitation costs and the current low global oil prices, means it is questionable whether hydraulic fracturing can be a viable technology in the European Union; believes that public concerns must be properly addressed and any hydraulic fracturing activities should comply with the highest climate, environmental and public health standards; asks those Member States which intend to pursue hydraulic fracturing to respect the 2014 European Commission recommendation on minimum principles for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons (such as shale gas) using high-volume hydraulic fracturing.