Areas to be excluded from underground fracking activities have been set out by the Government today, through draft regulations that define the protected areas in which fracking will be prohibited.
The draft regulations set out further protections for groundwater and National Parks, Areas of Outstanding National Beauty, the Broads and World Heritage Sites, ensuring the process of hydraulic fracturing can only take place below 1200 metres in these areas. Drinking water is not normally found below 400m.
Ministers also set out their clear commitment to ensure that fracking cannot be conducted from wells that are drilled in the surface of National Parks and other protected areas in such a way as to not impact on conventional drilling operations. More details on this will follow shortly.
Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom said:
“The UK has one of the best track records in the world when it comes to protecting our environment while also developing our industries – and we’ve brought that experience to bear on the shale gas protections.
“We need more secure, home grown energy supplies, and shale gas and oil have a vital role to play – much better that we use what we have at home than relying on supplies from volatile foreign imports.
“This industry will be developed safely with world class environmental protections, creating jobs and delivering better energy security while safeguarding of some of our most precious landscapes.”