In the European Parliament this week, MEPs voted to ensure that any proposed fracking project will have to undergo an Environmental Impact Assessment first, and that local residents will have greater access to information regarding that assessment.
It has been argued that we have no choice but to exploit the potential for shale gas if we are to maintain energy security, and that we are lagging behind countries such as the US when it comes to development of these unconventional fossil fuels.
However, there are genuine reasons to be concerned about the environmental impact of shale gas exploitation – for example the danger of extra methane leaking into the atmosphere and the amount of water required for the process as well as possible water contamination.
The new rules that MEPs supported this week will not necessarily prevent fracking for shale gas from going ahead, but they will ensure that these environmental concerns are properly considered before authorisation is granted.
Glenis Willmott MEP
East Midlands, Labour