There are very real dangers for the environment in going all out for fracking. That’s why we’d like to see specific changes to its planning and regulatory framework, including ruling out fracking in National Parks and in sensitive environmental areas.
We are concerned about the government’s proposals to amend the law of trespass and access rights for fracking and we will look carefully at them. Our position on fracking is clear – if fracking were proposed today on our land we would say no.
We look to the Government to ensure that its consultation on these major changes to access rights is fair. We would be very concerned if decisions were to be rushed to try to put changes into legislation before the election next year.
We have previously raised broader conservation concerns in our report ‘Are We Fit to Frack?’, which was written jointly with other leading countryside groups. It can be found at www.rspb.org.uk/fracking
It contains ten recommendations for making fracking safe:
- Avoid sensitive areas for wildlife and water resources by creating shale gas extraction exclusion zones.
- Make Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) mandatory for shale gas extraction proposals.
- Require shale extraction companies to pay for a world-class regulatory regime.
- Prevent taxpayers from bearing the costs of accidental pollution.
- Make water companies statutory consultees in the planning process.
- Require all hydraulic fracturing operations to operate under a Groundwater Permit.
- Make sure the Best Available Techniques (BAT) for mine waste management are rigorously defined and regularly reviewed.
- Ensure full transparency of the shale gas industry and its environmental impact.
- Ensure monitoring and testing of shale gas operations is rigorous and independent.
- Minimise and monitor methane emissions.
Our full position statement on fracking can be found here.