Lords to drill Environment Secretary on shale gas

Tomorrow the Environment Secretary will take questions from the Lords on the role his department takes in regulating shale gas and fracking. Government is keenly promoting shale gas as a […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Tomorrow the Environment Secretary will take questions from the Lords on the role his department takes in regulating shale gas and fracking.

Government is keenly promoting shale gas as a future boon to the economy and last week the Prime Minister told world leaders in Davos it could bring jobs back to Europe with cheap gas.

The Lords will ask Owen Paterson if opponents of fracking have “legitimate” environmental concerns or whether some fears have been exaggerated.

The Lords’ Economic Affairs Committee wants to know what policies exist to prevent groundwater contamination from shale gas extraction.

Mr Paterson will also be asked for his opinion as an MP for a constituency where shale gas extraction may occur, about local opinion on fracking in North Shropshire.

The Prime Minister recently announced British communities likely to have shale gas developers in their area would get a 1% share of revenue.

In what could be a thorny subject, Lords will ask if Mr Paterson thinks this is “sufficient” to overcome local opposition.