Thank you very much for your email regarding your concerns about fracking in Wiltshire.
I have read your correspondence with much interest and I appreciate concerns. I completely agree with you that we need to invest in renewable energy sources, including solar or wind energy, and that is why I am so pleased that the Government has already made great progress in this area. Last October, for example, it published a solar PV Roadmap which lays out the priority issues for solar PV. The roadmap can be found at
At the same time, I think that shale gas is a promising new potential energy source which could reduce our reliance on imported gas and help lower household energy bills. Moreover, it has the potential to create thousands of jobs, bring in billions in tax revenues and secure our energy supply for the future, keeping energy costs low for households and businesses.
The Government has made it very clear that shale gas production should not , and will not, be at the expense of the UK’s renewable technologies and our wider environmental aims. I know that the policy has been deeply and thoroughly considered, following an extensive consultation and study of the latest scientific research available. It does, of course, go without saying that any fracking operations must be safe and must not be at the expense of local communities or the environment.
I have been assured by Government Ministers that the UK has a strong regulatory system which provides a comprehensive and fit for purpose regime for exploration, and Ministers continue to improve it. New controls and requirements are thereby being introduced, including prior reviews and fracking plans to address any potential risks, and there will be a new Office of Unconventional Gas and Oil which will focus on the regulation of explorations.
In addition, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the Rt Hon Ed Davey MP, requested a study on potential greenhouse gas emissions from shale gas extraction and the report by DECC Chief Scientific Advisor, Professor David Mackay FRS, and Dr Timothy Stone, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State, concluded that, with the right safeguards in places, the net effect on greenhouse gas emissions from fracking will be relatively small and that the practise is compatible with the UK’s climate change targets. Gas is, in fact, the cleanest fossil fuel and therefore plays an important role in tackling climate change - it can act as a bridge in our transition to a green future.
Thank you again for taking the time to write to me on this very important issue and for sharing your views with me. I will, of course, monitor the situation closely as developments occur and if you have any further questions or if there is anything else with which I can help you, then please do not hesitate to get in touch again.
Member of Parliament for the Devizes Constituency
Assistant Government Whip
Telephone: 0207 219 7050
This was our letter to Claire:
Dear Claire Perry, MP
We are extremely concerned about Michael Fallon's recent statement that places such as Wiltshire, Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex 'should get ready for fracking', while at the same time pledging to block wind farms.
As you know there are many families in Wiltshire that are fuel poor because they are not on the gas grid and are forced to pay higher prices for heating oil or Economy 7 electricity. These families are unlikely to benefit from fracked shale gas, but need financial help to install improved insulation and renewable technologies, such as heat pumps and biomass boilers.
Furthermore, any fracking that takes place in the Marlborough Area may lead to unsustainable abstraction from the River Kennet. Also, it is not clear how the UK would meet its GHG emissions targets - by at least 34% by 2020 and at least 80% by 2050 (against the 1990 baseline) if up to 60% of our electricity is generated by gas. We are also concerned that funds that are spent on the process of extracting shale gas, including protecting the environment, may be diverted away from insulation and renewable energy projects.
There are several community-based enterprises in Wiltshire that are trying to expand renewable energy installations (solar PV, biomass boilers, wind turbines) to cover the energy needs of schools, village halls, leisure centres and business premises. These projects not only reduce carbon emissions, but also reduce energy costs, while providing a return from green tariffs to local investors.
We are therefore calling on you to withhold your support for hydraulic fracturing in Wiltshire, and instead give your full support to local community-based enterprises that are promoting renewable energy.
Sam L J Page, SN8 4AU.
Shirley Pryor, SN8 2BJ
Alexandra Wax, SN8 4BJ
Gerald Payne, SN8 4BJ
Gina Cooke, Marlborough
Judy Hindley, Marlborough
Ellie Gill, Devizes
Rich Pitts, SN8 4HT