Derbyshire MP says there are “too many unanswered questions” about full impact of fracking

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

North East Derbyshire MP, Lee Rowley, has welcomed a report into fracking by an independent spending watchdog.

The National Audit Office (NAO) has published a report that highlights the potential financial impact of fracking in the UK and casts new doubts over the industry.

The report suggests that the financial cost for taxpayers to support a developed fracking industry in the UK is still unknown. A total of £32.7 million has already been spent since 2011 and only three wells have been fracked to date.

There is also uncertainty about who is financially liable for the decommissioning and clean-up of fracking sites, should the fracking operators and the land owners be unable to. This was a subject raised by Mr Rowley when he questioned the fracking regulators in Parliament earlier in the year at the Public Accounts Committee. The NAO subsequently confirmed that they were investigating fracking in more detail, including the points brought up by Lee during the questioning.

Mr Rowley said: “There are still too many unanswered questions about the full impact of fracking in the UK and for places like Marsh Lane.

“I am really pleased that the NAO listened to my suggestions and have taken the time to scratch beneath the surface and discover that the true cost of fracking is unacceptable.

“This kind of evidence-based, carefully-approached assessment of fracking is what we need to demonstrate that it won’t work, and we don’t need it, in north east Derbyshire or elsewhere in the UK.

“I will keep working in Parliament to make the case against fracking. We don’t want it and we don’t need it – in Marsh Lane or the UK as a whole.”

The NAO report raised doubts over the potential to meet climate change targets whilst developing a fracking industry, suggesting that carbon capture technologies for this had yet to be developed.

The watchdog also questioned whether current shale regulators have the capacity to deal with fracking at scale.

The most recent fracking activity in the UK was halted in August following a series of earthquakes which breached fracking regulation.

The full NAO report can be found at www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Fracking-for-shale-gas-in-England.pdf