To allay public anxiety of the dangers of onshore ‘fracking’ the govt insists that regulation by the bodies involved – the Environment Agency (EA), the Health and Safety Executive, (HSE), Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) and Public Health England (PHE) is of a ‘Gold Standard’ quality.
To this end, ‘drop-in’ meetings have been organised in areas where development licences (PEDLs) for ‘fracking’ have already been issued. The purpose of these meetings is to inform members of the public what the various agency roles will be in the regulation of onshore fracking in the UK.
The primary responsibility for regulating High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (HVHF) – the unconventional method used for drilling for shale gas, lies with the EA and HSE.
As a concerned member of Frack Free East Yorkshire,I went along to this ‘drop-in’ to try, by questioning their representatives, to uncover a few details about their respective regulatory roles.
Shoppers and visitors to Beverley were forming queues to cast their votes in an impromptu street ballot on the controversial subject of Fracking where hydraulic fracturing is used to produce shale gas.
A consultation even was held where people were asked to vote in secret on whether they were for or against fracking, or if they did not know. The ballot was open for 2 hours with 475 votes being cast. The results were:
For – 99 or 20.8% Against – 344 or 72.4% Don’t Know – 32 or 6.7%
Speaking today Beverley Labour Party Spokesman George McManus said, ‘This is most overwhelming evidence we’ve seen of public opposition to fracking. The vote was non-verifiable and not scientific but if this represents the public view then politicians need to take note. People had heard we were conducting the exercise and queuing up before we even got started.’
He went on, ‘It was great that Karl Turner MP (for Kingston Upon Hull East) joined use to hear, first hand, what the people of Beverley had to say. People’s willingness to engage was staggering. We ran out of ballot papers by 11am and needed an emergency print run had we spent the whole day in Beverley, I’ve no doubt 1000 people would have voted.’
Campaigners have welcomed public support in a campaign to save Yorkshire’s only remaining deep mined coalmine as public opposition to fracking grows. Hundreds of people in Beverley and Hill signed a local Labour Party petition on Saturday calling on the Government to save Kellingley Pit near Selby.
David Cameron recently announced that the taxpayer would fund a managed closure of the mine in 2015. But the move has been condemned by Labour which believed this will lead to increased imports of foreign coal.
Speaking today, Beverley Labour’s George McManus who organised the petition said, ‘The public expressed 2 very clear views on Saturday. They think it’s wrong to shut local pits and import more coal. They also made clear their widespread opposition to fracking which the PM says is a silver bullet for our future energy needs.’
He went on, ‘In years to come, coal will still have an important role to play in our energy supply. Both Labour and the public believe its wrong to make us more dependent on foreign sources. 1,300 miners will lose their jobs as a result of this shortsighted, politically motivated more. We urge David Cameron to change his mind.’