MEPs propose mandatory audits for fracking projects

The European Parliament has proposed all new shale gas drilling projects must go through audits to check their environmental impact. That’s under a new amendment to existing EU legislation put […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The European Parliament has proposed all new shale gas drilling projects must go through audits to check their environmental impact.

That’s under a new amendment to existing EU legislation put forward yesterday which would close a potential loophole.

Current rules cover natural gas projects which extract at least 500,000 cubic metres a day. However many shale gas projects extract less and so don’t need an impact assessment, according to MEPs.

They want an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be mandatory regardless of how much gas is extracted for all non-conventional hydrocarbons, including shale gas projects using hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

Andrea Zanoni, Italian MEP who led the introduction of the amendment said: “We are revising this key legislation to align it with Europe’s new priorities such as soils, resource use and protecting biodiversity. Hydraulic fracturing raises concerns. We lay down clear criteria to avoid conflicts of interest and involve the public.”

Mr Zanoni was granted a mandate by 332 votes to 311.

DECC said the potential change was not under its remit to comment on while the Department of Communities and Local Government is yet to respond.