LETTER: What the Labour Party thinks of fracking

A GOOD number of people have inquired what the Labour Party position is regarding fracking – the extraction of natural methane gas from shale beds by drilling down and then using various techniques to free up the gas – in Lancashire.

Apparently, while there are huge reserves of such gas within the western part of Lancashire, there are none directly under Pendle as far as we know.

Tom Greatrex MP, Labour’s Shadow Energy Minister, set out the official Opposition’s six conditions for shale gas exploration and production in an article for Business Green last March.

These are:

1. There must be a mandated disclosure of all hazardous chemicals used in fracking and a risk assessment by the regulator of their potential environmental impact and only non-hazardous chemicals should be used in the fracking mix.

2. There must be an assessment of the well integrity to ensure the casing and borehole are not susceptible to leaking. This must meet current industry standards for other types of drilling.

3. There must be micro-seismic monitoring of the area prior to any drilling to determine what the potential impact would be on the geology of the local area.

4. There must be an assessment of impact of water use on local community.

5. There must be an assessment of groundwater methane levels prior to fracking.

6. There should be at least a full year’s monitoring of all of the above before drilling can proceed.

In August, 2012, Mr Greatrex said of the report on fracking in Lancashire by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Society: “It is welcome this report reinforces much of what Labour has been pressing for for several months. Before shale gas extraction can go ahead, important conditions that have been set by this report and by the Labour Party must be established, met and monitored”.

As I understand it, the Government has agreed any fracking in Lancashire will have to comply with what the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society and the Labour Party have stipulated.

COUN. MOHAMMED IQBAL

Pendle Labour Group Leader