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Campaigners call for effective regulation of shale oil exploration

Wednesday, 11 June 2014 09:20

3 June 2014

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) today (Tuesday) raises the alarm about Government proposals that would exclude smaller scale shale oil exploration from environmental regulation. A consultation by the Government, which closed yesterday, proposes the removal of its ability and responsibility to regulate smaller scale, but potentially hazardous, onshore oil exploration under the ‘Environmental Permitting Regulations’.

Two weeks after 4.4bn barrels of oil were estimated to be under the Weald Basin, CPRE and its branches in Hampshire, Kent and Sussex are asking the Government to ditch these proposals and uphold proper environmental safeguards rather than reduce them.

Nick Clack, senior energy campaigner at CPRE, said:

“Environmental hazards exist from even small scale activities — the escape of 200 tonnes of oil at a sensitive site, such as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or close to a water course, could be disastrous.

“It is extraordinary that the Government should be proposing to do this when public confidence in the safety of fracking is so low and when exploratory drilling for oil is about to take off. “Ministers need to wake up to the lack of public confidence about the ability to prevent damage to the environment from shale exploration – particularly when shale oil has the potential to undermine our climate change targets. It should be seeking to bolster public confidence in the quality of its regulatory and monitoring regimes, rather than removing existing regulation.” The consultation document states that the loading, unloading, handling or storage of oil was retained under the Environmental Permitting Regulations following a 2012 Defra consultation. It is unclear what has changed since then to justify the proposed exemption.

Notes to Editors

For more information, interviews or photos, contact: 020 7981 2819 or 077 3933 2796

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) fights for a better future for the English countryside. We work locally and nationally to protect, shape and enhance a beautiful, thriving countryside for everyone to value and enjoy. Our members are united in their love for England’s landscapes and rural communities, and stand up for the countryside, so it can continue to sustain, enchant and inspire future generations. Founded in 1926, President: Sir Andrew Motion, Patron: Her Majesty The Queen.  


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