The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee will today (28 January) take evidence from Owen Paterson MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs at Defra and Paul Leinster, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency.
The evidence session will be the last in the Committee’s inquiry into the potential impact of shale gas and oil on the UK economy. Areas the Committee will cover with the witnesses include:
- What role Defra and the English Environment Agency have in regulating shale gas development in England and what their organisations priorities are in delivering that regulation.
- Do opponents of fracking have legitimate environmental concerns? Have some fears been exaggerated?
- What policies exist to prevent groundwater contamination from shale gas extraction, which has been described as the ‘biggest environmental risk’ of fracking.
- How the current environmental permitting process works and how UK regulation works within the framework of European legislation.
- As an MP for a constituency where shale gas extraction may occur, what does Mr Paterson think about local opinion on fracking in North Shropshire? Is a 1%share of revenue sufficient to overcome local opposition?
- How will the UK’s high population density impact on the potential for the development of shale extraction?