To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, whether monitoring of potential fugitive methane emissions will continue for 30 years after the exploration for fracking has finished.
24 February 2015
The Environment Agency will make a case by case assessment of monitoring requirements. There is provision in the environmental permit for an operation involving hydraulic fracturing to require monitoring indefinitely post closure of a well. The Environment Agency will not allow surrender of the permit unless it is satisfied that the well has been decommissioned in line with standards set by the Health and Safety Executive, the site has been returned to a satisfactory condition and there is no significant on-going risk to the environment.
The recent Infrastructure Act 2015 makes clear that any hydraulic fracturing activity cannot take place unless appropriate arrangements have been made for monitoring emissions of methane into the air. During operations the operator will be required to undertake environmental monitoring, including emissions monitoring, to demonstrate compliance with their permits. In some cases, depending on the risks presented by a site or community concerns, the Environment Agency may undertake extra monitoring themselves.
My rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State will not grant well consent unless he is satisfied that an environmental permit is in place which contains a condition requiring compliance with a waste management plan providing for the monitoring of emissions of methane into the air for the period of the permit.