Thank you for contacting me about shale gas.
The safe development of shale gas can help the UK to decarbonise its economy and be part of a diverse energy mix.
I think that the right protections are in place to ensure that fracking can go ahead safely without risk to our most beautiful and important natural sites. People should have confidence that the UK’s world leading environmental regulations will deliver clean, safe shale gas extraction. For this reason, the Government is providing further reassurance for our most valued areas. With these protections in place, I think it is right that we explore and make use of shale gas and oil.
Regulations now protect some of the country’s most beautiful areas, including National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, meaning shale gas exploration cannot take place at depths of less than 1,200 metres in these areas. The Government is also committed to banning wells drilled at the surface of these areas or within Sites of Special Scientific Interest.