Dawn Primarolo MP's response to constituents regarding fracking and drinking water:
"Thank you for contacting me regarding the extraction of shale gas (‘fracking’) and the Governments’ Infrastructure Bill in connection with your concerns that changes made to the Bill in the House of Lords weaken protection of drinking water sources.
As you may know, Labour tabled an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill in the House of Commons in January that closed a number of loopholes in the existing fracking regulations and included important safeguards on planning regulations and the cumulative impact of shale gas developments on local areas. It also included measures specifically designed to tackle the climate change impact of shale gas, forcing companies to monitor and report emissions, and banned fracking in areas where drinking water is collected. At the time the Government accepted this new clause, representing a significant u-turn from their previous position and a real victory for our environment.
Unfortunately subsequent changes were made to the Infrastructure Bill in the House of Lords earlier this month which appeared to potentially weaken some of the above protections that had been secured by Labour.
When the Bill returned to the House of Commons on 11 February, Labour’s Shadow Energy Minister, Tom Greatrex MP stated “It is vital for groundwater, and sources of drinking water, to be properly protected”, and Labour MPs voted to reject the House of Lords’ amendments. Unfortunately the Government used its majority to push the changes through and the legislation has now become law. A transcript of the debate is available on the parliamentary website.
Labour’s Shadow Energy Secretary, Caroline Flint MP, remains clear that shale gas extraction should not go ahead unless there is a system of robust regulation and comprehensive inspection in place.
Thank you for taking the time to contact me about this matter.
Labour MP for Bristol South"