Prime Minister questioned on shale gas

25566 - 1 Mark Menzies MP

THE Prime Minister has been urged to ensure that the Government holds a consultation and establishes an independent body to regulate any potential shale gas industry.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies made the calls at Prime Ministers Question Time today.

He also called for the environment to be protected and urged the Prime Minister to deliver on his commitment to create the greenest Government ever.

Mr Menzies said in the House of Commons: “Can I ask the Prime Minister to ensure that before any decision is taken to extract shale gas from the Fylde that there will a public consultation and the establishment of an independent body to deliver a gold standard of regulation so that the environment is never compromised?”

In his response, Mr Cameron said: “What I can assure my honourable friend about is that any future shale gas production would have to meet stringent safety and environmental standards and it would have to follow deep consultation with local communities and would have to fit within our overall energy commitments.”

Mr Menzies said “I’m pleased the Prime Minister is taking this matter seriously. I will continue to give this matter my full focus to ensure that this issue receives the full attention of Government. I will continue to make representation to the Liberal Democrat Secretary of State Ed Davey, as I have done many times previously, and will do my upmost to ensure he takes the right set of decisions on this matter.”

Mr Menzies also laid out his position on shale gas very clearly.

He said: “I have said from the very outset this is a highly complex issue and very much a technical matter for experts to decide upon. The pros and cons must be weighed up very carefully without scaremongering from opponents and cheerleading from industry. My questioning has already established that environmental impact assessments would be needed as part of the planning process which is reassuring. But I also feel the views of the public are important which is why I have called for a consultation.

“It is also clear from my inquiries that close, joined-up regulation and scrutiny is required to reassure the public that this process is safe-  should it be allowed to go ahead – which is why I feel an independent body would be helpful to link all of the various regulatory agencies together to work as one. I hope my recommendations will be adopted by the Secretary of State. Unless these things happen, as a minimum, I could not support the extraction of gas.”

Mr Menzies has already held a public meeting to allow members of the public to question industry regulators, Cuadrilla Resources and himself about shale gas. He has also made many representations to both the former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne MP and current Secretary of State, Ed Davey MP about this issue as well as helping constituents with queries and problems relating to both the exploratory and preparatory work surrounding Cuadrilla Resources’ activities.

Notes

To watch again visit http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=11369&wfs=true or http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01ms035/Prime_Ministers_Questions_12_09_2012/

A transcript of PMQ’s should be available soon at http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/

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