Croydon North MP Steve Reed has written to me on his views on fracking as follows:
‘Thank you for writing to me on the issue of shale gas extraction and the changes being made in the current Infrastructure Bill.
Labour forced a vote on 26 January 2015 to prevent shale gas developments in the UK unless loopholes in the environmental regulation are closed. There are outstanding concerns about management of drinking water, the integrity of the wells and protection for areas such as national parks. For these reasons, Labour voted to prevent shale gas developments on Monday.
I have always said that shale gas cannot happen unless we have a system of robust regulation and comprehensive inspection. But despite clear flaws in the regulatory framework for shale gas, the current Government has chosen to ignore genuine and legitimate environmental concerns.
The Tories have belatedly acknowledged that the current regulations are inadequate, conceding to Labour pressure for reform on a small number of issues. That is why we have submitted an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill that will prevent any shale gas development unless 13 necessary conditions are established. Our amendment proposes that until these regulations are in place, no fracking should be allowed to happen.
It includes measures specifically designed to tackle the climate change impact of shale gas, forcing companies to monitor and report fugitive emissions. Labour have made a 2030 target for the effective decarbonisation of the electricity supply a key commitment for 2015.
Clearly, gas is a fuel which remains vital to the operation of our homes, services and businesses in the UK. 80% of our homes rely on gas for heating, while around 30% of our electricity comes from gas fired power stations.
However, shale gas extraction cannot go ahead unless we have a proper regulatory framework that is consistent with our climate change obligations and local environmental considerations. I will be voting for the Labour amendment to prevent shale gas development until that is the case.
Thank you for taking the time to write to me on this important issue.’