Research and analysis

Draft Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts paper

This paper is an early draft of an internal document, released following a Decision Notice issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office.



This paper is an early draft of an internal document; it is not analytically robust. Work on it has since been discontinued.

The draft paper was intended as a review of existing literature. It includes early, often vague, assumptions which are not supported by appropriate evidence. These were never intended as considered Defra positions or as statements of fact.

Containing no new evidence, the paper simply refers to data from overseas studies which cannot be used to predict impacts in the UK with any degree of reliability. The author of the paper was not asked to consider, and did not have an in-depth knowledge of, the UK regulatory framework.

In June 2012, the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering report concluded that environmental (and health and safety) risks can be managed effectively in the UK if operational best practices are enforced through regulation. The UK has a rigorous and robust regulatory regime which is fully capable of preventing and managing any risks.

This paper has been released further to a Decision Notice issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on 8 June 2015. The ICO accepted that the paper was an incomplete draft.

The document shows the security markings at the time of the request (Draft Restricted); the document has been declassified for release.

The name of the paper’s author has been redacted under section 40(2) and (3)(a)(i) of the Freedom of Information Act (2000) as agreed previously with the complainant and the Commissioner. No other material has been removed.

Published 1 July 2015