North East Derbyshire MP to lead Parliamentary investigation into calls to loosen fracking regulations

North East Derbyshire MP, Lee Rowley.
North East Derbyshire MP, Lee Rowley.

North East Derbyshire MP, Lee Rowley, is to lead a Parliamentary investigation into calls to loosen fracking regulations.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on the Impact of Shale Gas, which is made-up of cross-party MPs and led by Mr Rowley, will invite experts to be questioned in Parliament next month.

The investigation is in response to recent calls from the fracking industry to loosen regulations put in place to prevent fracking-induced earthquakes, including from Ineos, the company hoping to drill on land off Bramley Moor Lane in Marsh Lane, near Eckington.

Mr Rowley said: “We’re holding this meeting to dig a little deeper into calls to loosen fracking regulation.

“One of the biggest concerns from residents in Marsh Lane and elsewhere in north east Derbyshire who are worried about fracking is that it could cause earthquakes that not only damage property but could lead to contamination.

“Any weakening of the regulation is wrong in my opinion and I have invited fracking regulators, fracking companies, campaign groups and scientists to join us next month to discuss my concerns.”

The Conservative MP added: “North East Derbyshire deserves clarity, so we want to get the experts on this issue all in one place to discuss this properly.”

Last month Ineos called for the government to increase the shale seismicity limit from 0.5 ‘to a more sensible level’.

Jim Ratcliffe, Ineos chairman said the government’s position is ‘unworkable’ and ‘unhelpful’.

Among the questions the group will be exploring at the meeting include:

n What is the process for monitoring seismicity and well integrity?

n Is there substantial independent monitoring of seismicity at sites?

n Are regulators too reliant on data from operators?

n Is the monitoring process transparent enough?

You can submit written evidence to Mr Rowley by March 29 at lee.rowley.mp@parliament.uk or write to Lee Rowley MP, Eckington Business Centre, 62 Market Street, Eckington, S21 4JH.

n MP’s questions for update go ‘unanswered’, page 47.