South Downs Way Bush

The passage of the Infrastructure Bill 2014-2015 through Parliament has been highly controversial with a number of significant debates on proposed amendments to limit and control shale gas exploration and extracting (fracking). 

An attempt was made by labour MPs to suspend further shale gas fracking for 30 months until an assessment was carried out. However this was defeated by a substantial majority.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced on 27 January 2015 that it had accepted a number of provisions in the final House of Commons debate on the Bill. DECC has now made various commitments, including the following:-

  • not to allow fracking in protected areas, such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks
  • to withdraw the regime for underground access for shale gas (or explain to Parliament why it had not done so), if the committee on climate change advises the government that shale gas may adversely impact on climate change objectives.

DECC has also accepted further controls on shale gas fracking, including:-

  • Environmental impact assessments
  • Ground water monitoring
  • Community benefit measures

The House of Commons amendments will return to the House of Lords for consideration.   

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