By DARA BUTTERFIELD
MP Amber Rudd, the newly-appointed UK Secretary of State for Energy, has said she is confident that the Conservative government will bring in shale gas ‘during their next term’.
In a recent interview with a London-based weekly newspaper, Rudd said she was keen to ‘fast-track fracking for shale gas and oil’ and wanted to revisit legislation passed earlier this year that banned fracking under National Parks.
The previous coalition government agreed to close 13 loopholes in the Infrastructure Bill that could increase the environmental impact of any fracking activity, including a ban on fracking near aquifers or in National Parks, a block on projects that drill at depths of less than 1,000 metres, and new rules governing the measurement and disclosure of methane emissions from fracking operations.
Rudd – who studied History at Edinburgh University – suggested the government could pass secondary legislation that would effectively allow shale gas to be extracted from National Parks as long as the drilling took place outside the conservation zone.
She said: “With a Conservative majority I believe we’ll be able to deliver shale, as we’ve always wanted to do, in a safe but beneficial way.”
See also: 19 May 2015: Scottish Energy News: http://goo.gl/je24Wa
Will Shale Gas Replace Oil in the UK – With or Without Fracking?
Rudd has also said that she wishes to curb the expansion of onshore wind though she has been very supportive of other renewables and has vocally called for more domestic solar.
She expanded on her policy towards onshore wind saying: “It will mean no more onshore wind farm subsidies and no more onshore wind farms without local community support.
“This is really important. I’ve already got my team working on it. That’s going to be one of the first things we’re going to do.
“I’ve put a rocket under the team to get it done, putting the local community back in charge. We’re looking to do the primary legislation as soon as we can.”
MP for Hastings, Rudd recently talked to her local newspaper – the Hastings & St. Leonards Observer – about her support of solar, saying: “We have a million people living under roofs with solar panels and that number needs to increase.
“My ambition in my new role is quite simple: to keep the lights on and carbon emissions down, whilst saving consumers money on their energy bills.”