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Tory MPs give cautious welcome to shale gas expansion

By Matthew Barrett
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The Government has given the go-ahead for fracking licenses to be granted. Shale gas has the potential to transform our energy outlook, reducing our carbon emissions, reliance on foreign oil, and most importantly, prices.

Commons_chamberQuestions to the Lib Dem Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey, were held in the House yesterday. A number of Tory MPs, including Members local to the main fracking site in the North West, welcomed the decision to start exploiting shale gas.

Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire) hailed the possibility of shale gas reducing fuel poverty:

"I want to see proper environmental safeguards and generous community benefits for the areas where fracking will take place, but does my right hon. Friend agree that shale gas has the potential not only to lead an industrial renaissance in this country but to play a serious part in dealing with fuel poverty?"

Paul Maynard (Blackpool North and Cleveleys) wanted to dispell the "alarmist stories" about lax regulatory regimes:

"Many of my constituents remain concerned about the parallels that they perceive between shale extraction in the United States and what is being planned in the United Kingdom. Will the Secretary of State say a little more about why he thinks that the regulatory environment here will be superior to that of the United States, thereby disproving many of the alarmist stories that are circulating?"

Mark Menzies (Fylde), also welcomed the use of shale gas, but sounded a more cautious tone:

"I welcomed the announcement of the formation of the Office for Unconventional Gas last week, and I thank the Secretary of State and Ministers for all the work that they have done in that respect. However, some of my constituents have subsequently expressed concern about the possibility that the office is not fully independent. What assurances can the Secretary of State give that it will both improve regulations and be robust, transparent and able to respond to any concerns that Fylde residents may express?"

The relevant section of Energy questions can be found on Hansard here.


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