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Hydraulic Fracturing (Moratorium) Act 2016  

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Caroline Blakesley
(@caroline-blakesley)
Prime Minister & MP for Hammersmith
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 158
08/08/2019 2:21 pm  

Madam Speaker,

While we ultimately view it as a semantic matter, in the interest of cooperation the government will accept the amendments but forward by the Hon Member for Croydon South.

The government will reject the amendments put forward by the Hon Member for Bexhill and Battle.

Caroline Blakesley
Prime Minister
MP for Hammersmith

Parliamentary: Unknown (13)
Media: Unknown (17)
Policy: Unknown (18)


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Astrid Vincenti
(@astrid-vincenti)
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 33
08/08/2019 6:42 pm  

Madam Speaker,

I rise to thank the Right Honourable Lady, the Member for Hull North, for bringing this bill before the House. Fracking is indeed a controversial and important issue that impacts a huge proportion of communities represented in the House and so, naturally, many members have very strong views on it.

Madam Speaker, Britain's energy future is a particular interest of mine, as a scientist myself. I, and many of my colleagues in the environmental sciences, share some of the government's concerns about the impact that fracking could potentially have on rural areas, especially in relation to issues around biodiversity, water pollution and the carbon footprint of the hydraulic fracking industry as a whole. I welcome, Madam Speaker, the Government's commitment to tackling these concerns.

I do want to ask, Madam Speaker, about research and evidence. As I have stated, some environmental scientists, including myself, have raised concerns about particular aspects of fracking however not all of the research is in agreement and as the  Honourable Member for Bexhill and Battle has rightly pointed out, some research has even challenged the consensus by highlighting areas in which fracking may not have as profound an impact as broadly believed.

It is crucial, as a scientist, that one keeps one's mind open to the possibility that the broad consensus is wrong and that we continue to promote research and study into environmental science to ensure that whatever policy is put forward is evidenced well and is as informed as possible. Can the Right Honourable Lady give assurances to the House that this policy was crafted with an appropriate research-rich methodology and that the bill was consulted upon with an appropriate regard to the latest scientific evidence?

Madam Speaker, one area that scientists are agreed upon is that of the dangers of too much seismic activity upon previously unknown or understudied fault lines. One of the common concerns expressed by the scientific community with regard to fracking is that seismic levels must be maintained within safe limits. At the moment, the UK's fracking activity is generally well within that as the current government-agreed level is a magnitude of 0.5. However, Madam Speaker, some scientists are confident that level can be safely raised to a magnitude of 1.5 which would enable existing fracking operations to be more efficient and acquire more natural gas without impacting on safety. Can the Right Honourable Lady confirm for the House that the Government is listening to the recommendations of British scientists and will she consider raising the magnitude level to ensure that what fracking is occurring is a balance of safety and efficiency?

The impact, however, Madam Speaker, is just not environmental. It is hugely important that the House note that fracking brings with it changes to local economic landscapes too. The sites identified as potential fracking sites are predominantly in Northern towns or near them and the economic advantages on job creation, investment and impact on the local economy would be centred on some of the most socially and economically deprived areas of our country. As a Labour Party member, Madam Speaker, that fact cannot be ignored. The Government has a responsibility to ensure that these communities do not lose out on potential economic investment or growth because of this policy. Can the Right Honourable Lady therefore give assurances, Madam Speaker, that where areas or towns were identified as have potential fracking opportunities, or where contracts or expansions had been already planned, that those areas can expect the Government to make provision for that and can she outline that provision for us?

Furthermore, Madam Speaker, the Government has made repeated commitments to support local employment opportunities and many people in Northern constituencies local to the designated fracking zones or likely future sites will be concerned that some planned licenses were mid-process. Indeed some contractual license requests will already have been sent to central government and workers, employers and local communities will be anticipating a result that reflects the specific needs of that locality, not simply a national response through legislation. The hard work put into license requests through planning proposals, building permission documents, counter proposals and community consultations should not go to waste or be thrown out without proper consideration. Can the Right Honourable Lady confirm for the house what steps she will now take to ensure that license requests that are mid-process will receive due diligence and be considered properly without a blanket rejection?

Madam Speaker, I have been a vocal enthusiast of this Government's commitment to support Britain's science industry and the Right Honourable Lady ought to be congratulated on her clear commitment to that end. She shall continue to enjoy my support in that regard. One consideration that should now also be made is what to do about the allocation of funding, both in the sense of that which has already been released by central government for planned expansions and new fracking sites, but also about funding allocated in the last budget for these expansions. Madam Speaker, I wonder if the Right Honourable Lady is considering putting that funding back into the science industry to help Britain's commitment to combating climate change, protecting our natural environment and reducing our carbon emissions. Madam Speaker, can the Right Honourable Lady therefore please outline to the House where this funding will now be redirected and whether the Government plans to put it to good use in supporting cleaner, renewable alternatives to fracking?

Madam Speaker, I realise that most of the contributions to this debate on fracking, both inside this House and out of it, are centered around economic and environmental concerned, as well they should be, however there is another dimension that I am certain the Government will have considered but perhaps has not been made explicitly clear to the House and that is Britain's security, specifically our energy security. Madam Speaker, the Right Honourable Lady will know that 25% of the EU's gas imports originate from Gazprom, the Russian state natural gas supplier. Many countries within the EU actually get up to 100% of their gas supply from Gazprom at present. As it stands, the UK is the fourth largest export market for Gazprom, which also employs over 600 staff in London, and has a net income through it's UK-based subsidiary GM&T, of £374m. It provides as much as 10% of the UK's energy supply and, as we all know in this House, has previously attempted multi-billion pound takeovers of key British energy firms such as Centrica in 2006. With this in mind, Madam Speaker, can the Right Honourable Lady outline for the House exactly how she will now ensure Britain's continued energy security if she intends to begin the process of ending fracking operations but also avoid over-reliance on Russian-controlled corporations?

Madam Speaker, I started this speech by saying that I was rising in support and despite my questions I want to make it absolutely and unmistakably clear to the House that I do support this piece of legislation and I am certain the whole House will join me in saying that once the Government has addressed the points I have outlined, we can all support in protecting Britain's beautiful natural environment and ensuring that Britain's scientific industry continues to receive the support it deserves.

Astrid Vincenti | Labour Co-Op | MP for Tynemouth
Policy (17), Media (12), Parliament (11)


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Caroline Blakesley
(@caroline-blakesley)
Prime Minister & MP for Hammersmith
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 158
08/08/2019 8:35 pm  

Mme Speaker,

I wish to respond to the questions put forward by the Hon Member for Tynemouth, as well as explain further rationale behind this bill.

Mme Speaker, the Hon Member of Tynemouth mentions the carbon footprint of the hydraulic fracking industry as a whole as a concern of the government. She is right in this regard. Indeed, the carbon footprint of the United Kingdom and its dependence on fossil fuels is a significant concern of the government. In fact, Mme Speaker, it is one of the primary motivations of this bill. In order to meet our commitment to become carbon neutral by 2050, we must move away from fossil fuels as a source of energy. Continued investment and development of fracking, and the fossil fuel infrastructure that fracking requires, would be economically counterproductive. Therefore, Mme Speaker, this legislation was designed with the goal of ensuring carbon neutrality and removing fossil fuels from our energy mix - a goal that it will meet.

With regard to licensing requests that are mid-process, the licensing process for hydraulic fracking was halted in 2011 following a series of earthquakes in Lancashire that were linked to the initiation of hydraulic fracturing activity. No further approval for hydraulic fracturing activity has been granted at this time. As such, there is additionally very little planning for introducing new fracking sites or expanding existing sites at this time.

In regards to the economic benefit for local communities, as my Rt Hon Friend the Environment Secretary pointed out, there is little evidence that fracking will promote long term economic opportunity in deprived areas. Indeed, shortly after construction finishes, estimates of job creation provided by the firms themselves show that there will be a dramatic dropoff in job creation in the communities hosting fracking operations. However, in light of lost opportunities, the government is open to investing in these communities via existing mechanisms, such as the Green Investment Bank, in order to promote the development of additional industry that would promote economic growth in these communities while allowing us to meet our carbon emission obligations.

With regard to the allowed seismic activity level, the government has no plans to change that level at this time. Moreover, in developing this policy, the government received reports that, particularly in the early stages of development of a site, there were negative impacts on air quality that justify reducing fracking in the United Kingdom.

In terms of further investment in green energy, the government is committed to continuing investing in green energy sources and funding no longer used in support of fracking will be redirected for these purposes.

In regards to questions vis-a-vis the British energy mix - shall gas already comprises a very small proportion of the energy mix. Additional approval of fracking operations likely would not change this for a period of several years. While we are concerned about the share of British gas that comes from Russian sources, we are determined to meet this issue not by increasing gas production, but by transitioning away from the use of gas as an energy source. This will be critical to meeting our obligations under the Paris Agreement and under the climate legislation that the government is due to publish in due course.

Mme Speaker, in developing energy policy, the government is obligated, both legally and morally, to consider the impact of energy development on our climate emission reduction targets. The development of shale gas would, at best, have a minor impact on reducing carbon emissions. At worst, it would lead to higher emissions than the United Kingdom's current gas blend. More importantly, Mme Speaker, the development of shale gas is likely to produce incentives that slow the development of alternative renewable energy technologies. This would, in the long term, result in increase emissions as the deployment of low-carbon energy sources and technologies are slowed.

Simply, Mme Speaker, the government is committed to achieving emissions reduction and promoting equitable, green growth across the United Kingdom. The continued approval of additional fracking operations and continued introduction of shale gas into the energy mix would be counterproductive to both of these goals. Therefore, in addition to concerns regarding seismic activity and clean air, the legislation before the House today is critical to promoting the United Kingdom's clean energy future.

Caroline Blakesley
Prime Minister
MP for Hammersmith

Parliamentary: Unknown (13)
Media: Unknown (17)
Policy: Unknown (18)


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Astrid Vincenti
(@astrid-vincenti)
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 33
08/08/2019 11:37 pm  

Madam Speaker,
I thank my Right Honourable Friend the Prime Minister for taking the time to address some of the points I have raised about this bill. I again want to make it clear to the House that I am supportive of the bill and think the Government has done exactly the right thing in bringing this matter before the chamber to legislate.

I concur wholly with the Prime Minister, Madam Speaker, that continued investment in hydraulic fracking is economically and environmentally counterproductive. I thank her for the clarification she has made about any outstanding license requests and for her commitment to invest in communities who may have otherwise lost investment opportunities through the Green Investment Bank.

Madam Speaker, I thank the Prime Minister for clarifying the Government's position on seismic level regulations and while I would prefer the level to be raised, I recognise the importance for the Government in retaining levels that are well within safety limitations.

I concur especially with the Prime Minister, Madam Speaker, on energy security. It is vital that the UK look for means with which to limit our reliance on Russian sources of gas, especially recognising the conduct of Gazprom in the past in the UK. I agree that the best strategy for this would be to reduce reliance on gas and transfer energy production to renewable and greener, cleaner sources. I look forward to discussing with the Prime Minister, Madam Speaker, methods of doing just that.

Madam Speaker, the Government are making huge strides in taking the global climate crisis seriously and I thank my Right Honourable Friend for taking the time to discuss the finer points of this bill.

Astrid Vincenti | Labour Co-Op | MP for Tynemouth
Policy (17), Media (12), Parliament (11)


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The Speaker
(@the-speaker)
Member Moderator
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 7
12/08/2019 6:33 am  

Division, clear the lobbies!

The Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP
Speaker of the House of Commons (2016-Present)
MP for Camberwell and Peckham (1982-Present)


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General Goose
(@general-goose)
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 362
12/08/2019 3:21 pm  

Aye

Graham Adiputera (Lib Dem - Sutton and Cheam)
Deputy Prime Minister
Liberal Democrat Leader
Foreign Secretary
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Climate Change
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Technology

Parliamentary - 36
Media - 53
Policy - 48


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Sylviane Jaubert
(@ege)
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 155
12/08/2019 3:37 pm  

Yea

Sylviane Jaubert MP
MP for Cynon Valley

Formerly as The Rt Hon Ariadne "Ari" Suchet MP
Former Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party

"TrashPotato Today at 2:11 AM
my friend offered me a bottle of vodka and i sucked the vodka out the bottle like a baby sucking a titty"


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Astrid Vincenti
(@astrid-vincenti)
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 33
12/08/2019 4:12 pm  

Aye

Astrid Vincenti | Labour Co-Op | MP for Tynemouth
Policy (17), Media (12), Parliament (11)


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Caroline Blakesley
(@caroline-blakesley)
Prime Minister & MP for Hammersmith
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 158
12/08/2019 5:04 pm  

Aye

Caroline Blakesley
Prime Minister
MP for Hammersmith

Parliamentary: Unknown (13)
Media: Unknown (17)
Policy: Unknown (18)


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Sir Geoffrey Birch
(@sir-geoffrey)
MP for Bexhill & Battle
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 98
12/08/2019 7:56 pm  

No!

Sir Geoffrey Birch | Conservative Party
MP for Bexhill & Battle (2001-present)
Former MP for Northampton South (1983-1997)
Parliamentary experience: Novice (28)
Media experience: Novice (22)
Policy experience: Unknown (12)

Formerly: Deborah Carpenter, Conservative, MP for Hertford & Stortford, Former Chancellor of the Exchequer


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Eleanor Nerina
(@eleanor-nerina)
Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 71
12/08/2019 8:52 pm  

Aye

Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department
Labour MP for Brent North (2005 - )


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William (Will) Conway
(@will-conway)
MP for Milton Keynes North
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 99
12/08/2019 9:10 pm  

Aye

Will Conway
Conservative
MP for Milton Keynes North (2014- )
Shadow Secretary of State for Energy,
Environment and Climate Change (2016)

Parliamentary 16
Media 14
Policy 8


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Dan
 Dan
(@dan)
Member A-team
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 139
12/08/2019 9:37 pm  

The ayes to the right 632. The noes to the left, zero

 

  Aye Noe Abstain Undecided
Lab 264   20  
Con 265   0  
LD 50   0  
SNP 27      
Plaid 3      
DUP 8      
SDLP 3      
UUP 2      
UKIP 2      
Green 1      
         
Indy   0    
DNV     0  
Total 632 0 20 0
This post was modified 1 year ago by Dan

Dan

A-Team


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Faye Gallacher
(@faye-gallacher)
Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 247
13/08/2019 4:05 am  

Aye (if it's still open). 

"[we] would rather die than leave the Labour Party." - Emily Thornberry.


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Dan
 Dan
(@dan)
Member A-team
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 139
13/08/2019 3:46 pm  

It wasn't

Dan

A-Team


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