“The UK government has proposed new rules regarding rights to access land in a bid to speed up the introduction of fracking.
It proposes that shale oil and gas companies are granted access to land below 300m from the surface.
It also suggests firms pay £20,000 per well to those living above the land.
The consultation comes as a new report by the British Geological Survey (BGS) estimates there are 4.4bn barrels of oil in shale rocks in southern England.
The BGS estimates there are between 2.2 billion and 8.6 billion barrels of shale oil in the Weald Basin – that covers areas including Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey and Kent – but says there is “no significant gas resource”.
These figures represent the total amount of oil in the rocks, only some of which can be accessed.
“It is not known what percentage of the oil present in the shale could be commercially extracted.” the survey said.”
BBC 23rd May” 2014.
The District Council has previously received a well rounded briefing on Fracking to make Councillors aware of the issues and has issued a press release today”
“EHDC responds to British Geological Survey shale gas and oil study
The British Geological Survey have now completed their study of the shale gas and oil resources of the Weald basin. They concluded that while there is unlikely to be any significant quantity of gas in the Weald shales, there could be a significant quantity of shale oil, in the range of 2 to 8 billion barrels.
East Hampshire District Council recognises that fracking for oil is a complex and emotive subject on many levels. While EHDC has no direct authority in the granting of oil and gas licences, they are a statutory consultee in the planning process.
If there is to be any further exploration for oil in the region, EHDC will seek to safeguard the interests of local residents and businesses. They will also look to maximise the community benefits offered by the shale companies.
EHDC’s spokesperson for Energy and Environment, Councillor Melissa Maynard, has looked at the shale gas industry as it is managed in the UK and has reached the following preliminary conclusions:
“While in principle we would prefer to see investment in low-carbon energy, we have nonetheless made it our business to understand the process of fracking itself and the regulatory controls in place to supervise this industry.
“I am satisfied that the risk and level of seismic activity triggered by the hydraulic fracturing process is very low and that robust monitoring is in place to identify and control that risk.
“I am also satisfied that well integrity is a high priority with regulations and engineering standards far higher and more robust than in other countries where issues have arisen.
“I believe that monitoring and regulatory frameworks are robust and that sufficient safeguards are in place to allow for exploratory wells to be drilled and for production to take place in the longer term if viable resources are found and environmental impacts are controlled.
“We will of course continue to improve our knowledge and understanding, and look carefully at specific proposals individually, as they arise.”
For my part I welcomed the briefings by Professor David Sanderson (University of Southamption) and Lisa Kirby (Hampshire County Council). The main issues identified were: Surface disruption; Earthquakes; Water usage; Groundwater contamination; Leaking wells and CO2 production. It is probable that water usage is the most important issue in the UK.
It was very reassuring to hear that the Regulatory Agencies in the UK have a tradition of employing the highest standards.