The MP for Mid Sussex has said our ‘energy-short country’ would be ‘truly mad’ not to exploit resources of shale gas or oil.
Nicholas Soames was commenting on the substantial local concern about the possibility of fracking at Cuadrilla’s Balcombe site.
He said: “It is clear that there is much local opinion which is understandably concerned about the exploration for onshore gas at Balcombe.
“Both the Government and the company, Cuadrilla, need to ensure that local people are in full possession of the accurate, transparent facts and not myths.
“I am satisfied that Cuadrilla are operating with all the necessary licences and permissions and that were they to find exploitable resources of shale gas or oil, a very vigorous regulatory regime would be imposed by the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
He continued: “When granting Cuadrilla a mining waste permit, the Environment Agency looked closely at the potential impact on water supply, one of local residents’ concerns. The decision document makes clear that we are satisfied that we have fully assessed the risk to surface water and groundwater and that there will be no unacceptable impact or risk of pollution.”
The MP added: “I am myself in favour of exploiting other such energy resources that we have, but it must be done with all the environmental and safety constraints that inevitably have to apply and I do indeed have considerable sympathy for those who are nervous about the process; for my own part I truly believe that unconventional onshore gas is a natural resource that our energy short country would be truly mad not to exploit. I also believe that local people should have a real stake in the economic benefits of any finds.”