Monday, June 27, 2022

Government finds fracking to be incompatible with Net Zero

 I thought that it was worth quoting from a recent refusal by the Sec of State to allow a fracking survey rig:APP/P4415/W/19/3220577

" 17.The Secretary of State notes that national shale gas policy is set out in a number of Written Ministerial Statements. Although the WMSs remain extant, he has taken into account that specific shale gas policy in the Framework was quashed in 2019 by the Talk Fracking1judgment, following which paragraph 209(a) of the 2019 version of the NPPF was withdrawn (IR7). The November 2019 BEIS WMS introduced a moratorium on the issuing of Hydraulic Fracturing Consents (HFCs) as a result of concerns about induced seismicity.   are not part of the planning system,the Secretary of State agrees with the Inspector that the 2019BEIS WMS and resulting moratorium is a material consideration in this case (IR584). He notes that the WMS states that ‘the shale gas industry should take the Government’s position into account when considering new developments’, and agrees with the Inspector that any immediate value of the development as an exploratory or ‘listening’ well would be significantly reduced unless and until the restrictions are lifted (IR585).  

18.The Secretary of State has also considered Sheffield Climate Alliance’s representations, in which they question whether the exploitation of shale gas is compatible with the 2050 commitment to reduce emissions by at least 80% (the commitment at the time of the inquiry), and whether there is a strategic need for this proposal (IR469-478). He has also considered the representations made by Dr Andy Tickell at IR462, which submits that the Talk Fracking judgement has established that proper consideration should be given to counter arguments against shale gas exploration and also refers to the UK Committee on Climate Change’s ‘Net Zero’ report.  

19.Taking the above matters into account, the Secretary of State agrees,on the basis of the evidence put forward in this case, that in this case government support for shale gas as set out in the WMSs should carry reduced weight. He has further taken into account the provisions of paragraphs 209 and211of the Framework, and overall he considers that national policy support for the benefits of shale gas exploration in this case carry moderate weight."  

In doing so, the Minister (Stuart Andrew) rejected the inspector's recommendation of approval. This decision could have wider implications where carbon emissions would be expected to exceed  the officially agreed budgets.

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