Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Queen's speech: fracking to get boost from trespass law changes

Allowing fracking companies to drill under peoples’ homes without their permission and watered-down standards for zero-carbon homes are expected to be the key green measures in the Queen’s speech on Wednesday.The proposals in the speech, which sets out the legislative programme for the year and is the last before the 2015 general election, marks a further hardening of the Conservative party’s attitude against environmental measures.Their coalition partners, the Lib Dems, see the survival of any zero-carbon home policy as a victory but failed to get other green proposals into the speech.Current laws of trespass require land- and home-owners to give permission for shale gas and oil drilling under their land, but the government intends to end this requirement in order to speed up fracking. Drilling can extend up to 3km horizontally underground from a central well pad.Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said: “Not only does this bill defy public opinion, it denies people a voice. To allow fracking companies to drill under people’s homes and land without their permission is to ignore public interest in pursuit of the vested interests of a few.”Tory ministers argue that fracking can deliver improved energy security for the UK but opponents warn of safety concerns and the need to cut carbon emissions to tackle climate change. The former Conservative energy minister Lord Howell has also warned fracking will cost the Tories thousands of votes in crucial rural constituencies.The shale gas industry welcomed as “very timely” the change in the trespass law, which is considered a major obstacle to exploration. It argues the changes update the law and will give fracking companies the same drilling rights already held by utility companies.Marcus Pepperell, spokesman for Shale Gas Europe, said: “We are only able to consider shale gas as a commercially viable energy source because of important advances in modern technology [including] horizontal drilling. Shale gas drilling will be deep underground and far less intrusive than many other energy sources. Utility facilities are far closer to the surface and their facilities can be much larger.”

via Queen’s speech: fracking to get boost from trespass law changes | Environment |

Queen's speech: fracking to get boost from trespass law changes

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