UK Climate Change Committee Gives Green Light For Fracking

  • Date: 11/12/13
  • Ben Webster, The Times

Britain should press ahead with fracking, the chairman of the Government’s climate change advisory body said yesterday. Lord Deben dismissed claims by green groups that fracking would cause significant damage to the environment, adding that Britain needed to drill shale wells to reduce reliance on foreign imports of fossil fuel.

Lord Deben, who as John Gummer served as Environment Secretary in John Major’s Government, told The Times: “It just isn’t true that fracking is going to destroy the environment and the world is going to come to an end if you frack. And yet to listen to some people on the green end, that’s what they say.”

Greenpeace argues that gas and toxic chemicals used in fracking could contaminate water supplies and that exploiting mineral reserves impairs efforts to cut emissions.

Lord Deben said that shale gas, which has helped the US to cut emissions because it is cleaner than coal, could give Britain greater energy security and should be exploited as quickly as possible. “I’m in favour of it. The carbon budgets have already assumed that we are going to use gas well on through the 2020s and into the 30s. There will be a need for gas [and] much better to have it from us and as soon as we can because I do genuinely think people ought to be worried about the security of our energy supplies.”

However, Lord Deben added that shale gas would not result in cheaper energy bills, even if widely exploited. “God has managed to put it in the places where it’s going to be most difficult for people to get planning permission to do this.

“There is absolutely no logical evidence to suggest that the amount of gas that we are likely to get in Britain, given the geological formation, given where the places are, given that we have gas at a deeper point and we don’t have the American advantage of the waylaws of ownership work, it isn’t going to be game-changing. The idea that we would have a lower price in Britain than the rest of Europe, [those who say that] just don’t understand how the gas price works.”

Full story (subscription required)