Rules tightened on UK fracking

Jan. 27, 2015

New conditions will have to be met by operators seeking to drill for shale gas in the United Kingdom.

New conditions will have to be met by operators seeking to drill for shale gas in the United Kingdom, according to BBC.

In a vote on Monday night, MPs rejected a proposal to suspend all hydraulic fracturing for shale gas but the government accepted changes that would ban fracking in national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and in areas near to groundwater sources.

This would exclude significant regions of the country's shale gas deposits.

And new regulations will slow down development by requiring companies to carry out a year of environmental monitoring before drilling can begin. Other agreed changes include independent inspection of the integrity of wells, monitoring for leaks of methane and providing residents with individual notifications of fracking beneath their land.

The debate in the House of Commons followed the release of a report by a committee of MPs which called for all fracking to be put on hold in the U.K., citing carbon emissions targets and localized risks to public health. The report warned that there are still huge uncertainties over the impact that fracking could have on groundwater quality, air quality, health and biodiversity.

The shale gas industry welcomed the decision by MPs not to halt fracking.

Ken Cronin, chief executive of industry group U.K. Onshore Oil and Gas, said: "It is good news that MPs have rejected the misguided attempts to introduce a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. Most of the amendments agreed are in line with best practice in the industry or codify the directions of regulators, which the industry would naturally comply with. We now need to get on with exploratory drilling to find out the extent of the U.K.'s oil and gas reserves."