The CLA South East today (28 May) said that the shale gas industry has provided no evidence to demonstrate that Government proposals to simplify access for fracking are necessary. CLA South East also said that landowners need assurance over long term liabilities associated with shale gas operations.
The organisation, which represents country landowners and rural businesses, has made this call in response to a Government consultation launched last week proposing to simplify access for underground drilling. It follows the British Geological Survey (BGS) study published last week reporting potential shale oil resources in the Weald Basin across Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire.
CLA Director South East Robin Edwards said: “The shale oil and gas industry has consistently cited access for underground drilling as a barrier to investment and development in further exploration.
“However, a system for gaining access does already exists and has been used by the conventional oil and gas sector for years with little problem. The shale gas industry is yet to prove why it can’t do the same, and has only provided hypothetical scenarios so far as to why a change is required.
“Extensive fracking is new to the UK and carries an element of risk as with any oil or gas extraction. The impact over a long period of time is unknown.
“Landowners must not be held liable for something that was not of their doing if there are problems decades down the line. It is appalling the consultation does not address this fundamental issue.”
The CLA also warned that fracking must not become a quick route to profit for private companies and said flimsy proposals surrounding compensation for landowners were unacceptable.
Mr Edwards said: “Despite all the time spent on the fracking debate the Government has made no concrete proposals for compensation for landowners on which to consult. This is wholly unacceptable.
“Bizarrely the Government has left it to the industry to make compensation proposals as part of its response to the consultation.
“It seems the consultation explores only what operators want rather than the implications of fracking for landowners and others.”
The consultation launched by Government can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/underground-drilling-access
The British Geological Society report can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bgs-weald-basin-jurassic-shale-reports