BirthDefectsDecember is typically a month where the majority of people are winding down their work for the end of the year. However in the House of Commons, December has been a popular month for debating and formulating regulations relating to fracking. Previously we reported that the Infrastructure Bill is speedily making it’s way through the House of Commons. We also recently discovered that there is also a public consultation [1] on the environmental risks of fracking.

The Environmental Select Committee is running the consultation. This House Committee cuts across government and makes recommendations to ensure that government departments and non-departmental public bodies help protect our environment by meeting environmental protection targets. It also helps to ensure sustainable development across the government. This committee consists of 11 MPs who include noted environmental campaigners Caroline Lucas and Zac Goldsmith. [2] They are asking for submissions of up to 3000 words around the following issues:

• The risks from fracking operations in the UK, including potential risks to water supplies and water quality, emissions, habitats and biodiversity, and geological integrity
• Necessary environmental safeguards, including through the planning/permitting system
• The implications for our carbon emissions reduction obligations

The deadline for submissions is 31 December 2014. After this point, the Committee will create a report with their recommendations to the government for regulating fracking operations. The government will then have 60 days to respond to the committee’s report. Historically, about 40% of Committee recommendations have been adopted by the government. It is also important to note that the Infrastructure Bill is also being considered by the House of Commons at this time. So this is also another way in which to influence that Bill.

Talk Fracking have submitted a response and we would like to encourage everyone who has not already made a submission to do so immediately! You can find out more information about submission here [3]. It is possible to include copies of reports as part of your response. We are unable to publish our submission until after the committee has considered it.

Talk Fracking

Links:
1. http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/news/environmental-risks-of-fracking-terms-of-reference/
2. http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/membership/
3. http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/inquiries/parliament-2010/environmental-risks-of-fracking-inquiry/commons-written-submission-form/