The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Unconventional Oil and Gas has rubbished claims it is entirely funded by the fracking industry and run by fracking lobbyists.
In a recent article, the Private Eye magazine said since the launch of the Group in February this year, it has received £25,000 from “a bunch of firms” including Cuadrilla, the fracking company.
It added: “The group’s other funders include petrochemical giant INEOS, which lobbies for fracking and is reportedly negotiating to invest in Cuadrilla; the UK Onshore Operators Group or frackers’ trade body and Ove Arup, the engineering firm which did the environmental assessment for Blackpool fracking and Norway’s Statoil, which has invested heavily in fracking in the US.”
Dan Byles MP (pictured), Chair of the APPG on Unconventional Oil & Gas said the Private Eye article contains “a number of factual inaccuracies”.
He added: “Contrary to Private Eye’s assertions, APPG funding is drawn from as broad a spread of sources as possible but I believe industry does have a responsibility to support open debate and share evidence about the potential risks and rewards from UK shale gas.
“Funding received from commercial organisations ensures that there is no charge for trade associations, environmental and consumer groups or academics to become members, demonstrating our commitment to ensuring that these voices are reflected in this forum.”
Also a member of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, Mr Byles added that all funds received, including membership fees, are registered on the Parliamentary Register within 28 days. Non-commercial organisations such as NGOs, academics and consumer groups are offered free memberships and are therefore not listed as funders on the Register.
The Private Eye magazine also stated the APPG “secretariat is provided free” by public relations agency Edelman, which it claimed represents Cuadrilla and “other frackers”.
The MP, however, said that isn’t true. Mr Byles added: “The APPG Secretariat is provided by independent public relations agency Edelman. Contrary to Private Eye, their clients do not include Cuadrilla (or any other UK shale gas developers). Neither are they working for free but are providing this service to the APPG at market rate.”
A spokesperson from Edelman confirmed the APPG pays for the service they provide and that it doesn’t represent any fracking firms in the UK.