From: Welsh Affairs Committee <Welshcom>
Subject: Press Notice – Welsh Affairs Committee Report: Energy generation in Wales: Shale Gas
Date: 16 June 2014 08:47:55 GMT+01:00
Welsh Affairs Committee
Select Committee Announcement
PUBLICATION OF REPORT
POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL BENEFITS OF SHALE GAS FOR WALES MUST NOT COME AT EXPENSE OF ENVIRONMENT
In a report published today, Monday 16th June the Welsh Affairs Committee says shale gas represents an opportunity for Wales but that it must not come at the expense of Wales’s natural environment. Both the UK and Welsh Governments must consider environmental risks, including the traffic and noise caused by commercial shale gas operations as well as the visual impact and other environmental risks associated with fracking.
The Government forecasts that nearly 70% of the UK’s gas supply will be imported by 2025. It is vital that the UK identifies new sources of gas if it is to safeguard the UK’s security of supply.
Shale gas production across the UK is currently at the exploratory stage and there is no good data yet on the amount of shale gas in Wales. Should considerable reserves of shale gas be present—as industry representatives predict—it could be a decade before a viable shale gas industry is created in Wales.
The Committee’s key conclusions and recommendations are:
· The UK Government and the Welsh Government should work with commercial companies and others to provide a reliable range of estimates of shale gas available in Wales. This should be published by the end of 2014.
· Both the UK and Welsh Government should assess the overall impact of shale gas supply on the level and mix of energy produced in Wales and the UK.
· The Welsh Government should begin now to consider how the employment opportunities presented by shale gas production could be maximised. This should include a detailed examination of the skills required by the industry and the extent that Wales already has people with those skills.
· The UK Government must provide further information about how local communities in Wales will benefit, financially or otherwise, from shale gas operations in their area.
· Both the UK Government and the Welsh Government must ensure that the regulatory and planning framework gives due weight to the traffic and noise caused by commercial shale gas operations, in addition to the visual impact and other environmental risks associated with fracking.
· The issue of treatment, transportation and disposal of wastewater is a growing concern: toxic and radioactive water must not be allowed to contaminate water courses.
· The Government should consider the case for minimising ground-level shale gas operations in sensitive areas in Wales, such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and National Parks. It must set out how it would ensure that development does not compromise designated sites, in particular those in environmentally sensitive areas.
· Commercial companies should pay for an independent Environmental Impact Assessment at the exploratory stage of any significant shale gas development.
David Davies MP, Chair of the Committee, said:
“Shale gas offers a wealth of potential benefits for Wales, in terms of energy supply, economic benefits and employment. We know there is some environmental risk: the UK and Welsh Governments must demonstrate that everything has been done to assess and mitigate that risk – both to the environment and Welsh people’s enjoyment of it – before we move forward and maximise the benefits for Wales.”
Copies of the Report can be ordered from The Stationery Office (Tel: 0845 702 3474) or from the Parliamentary Bookshop (Tel: 020 7219 3890). It can also be viewed on our website from the day of publication at: http://www.parliament.uk/welshcom
Enquiries to Welsh Affairs Select Committee at: welshcom
Committee Membership is as follows: David T. C. Davies MP (Chair), Glyn Davies MP, Guto Bebb MP, Geraint Davies MP, Stephen Doughty MP, Jonathan Edwards MP, Nia Griffith MP, Simon Hart MP, Mrs Siân C. James MP, Karen Lumley MP, Jessica Morden MP, and Mr Mark Williams MP
Specific Committee Information: welshcom tel: 020 7219 6189
Media Information: Jessica Bridges-Palmer bridgespalmerj 020 7219 0724
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