Holding answer received on 09 February 2015
The Government accepted all of Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering’s recommendations made in their report. We have implemented the majority of recommendations in full, for example:
· We have introduced a requirement, through the Infrastructure Act, that the Secretary of State will not issue a hydraulic fracturing consent unless a range of conditions have been met. These include that appropriate arrangements have been made for the monitoring of emissions of methane into the air, the independent inspection of the integrity of the relevant well and for the environmental impact to be taken into account by the local planning authority.
· The British Geological Survey has published regional data on tectonic history and faulting in many prospective areas and DECC set out new requirements for operators to control seismic risks, including a ‘traffic light’ system to pause or halt fracking if unusual seismic activity is detected.
· DECC now requires operators to compile an Environmental Risk Assessment, with the participation of the local community, at an early stage of developing shale gas projects. This is in addition to extensive guidance to drive high standards throughout the lifecycle of a project.
· The Infrastructure Act includes the requirement for relevant water companies to be statutory consultees.
We continue to respond as exploratory wells provide more data and information. For example, DECC is working with the industry to develop appropriate monitoring for the period after production ceases and the well is decommissioned.