The Shale Gas and Infrastructure Bill

Labour has always said that fracking cannot go ahead unless we have a system of robust regulation and comprehensive inspection. In the House of Commons this week, Labour proposed an amendment to stop fracking unless a series of tough conditions are first met, including measures designed specifically to tackle the climate change impact of shale gas, and forcing shale gas companies to monitor and report fugitive methane emissions.

We were pleased to have support for these provisions from a number of bodies, including the National Trust, RSPB, Friends of the Earth, Local Government Association, and the Unite and GMB trade unions.

At the last minute, and knowing that they were about to be defeated by Labour, the Government accepted our amendment. This means these robust regulatory conditions and protections are now in the Bill, and if it receives Royal Assent, will become law.

This is a significant defeat for the government, and stops the irresponsible approach that the Tories had been taking on shale gas, and instead ensures that the landscape, water supplies and communities are given stronger protections and standards.

Some people have suggested that Labour should have backed a moratorium on shale gas. Given a choice between Labour’s position of no fracking without tough conditions being met, and a temporary moratorium without any protections, Labour’s stance is the right one.

As the Bill returns to the House of Lords, we will continue to protect the integrity of our amendments from attempts by the Government to back track.