To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which (a) companies, (b) organisations and (c) Government Department's will be liable for the long-term (i) decommissioning of hydraulic fracturing wells and (ii) associated effects of hydraulic fracturing operations in the event that the licensed operator goes out of business.
7 March 2019
To date, only two wells in the UK have been hydraulically fractured, at Cuadrilla’s sites at Preese Hall and Preston New Road in Lancashire. The well at Preese Hall has been fully plugged and abandoned, while Preston New Road is still operational.
Hydraulic Fracturing Consent (HFC) will not be issued unless the Secretary of State is satisfied that it is appropriate to do so. My rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State is entitled to refuse HFC and/or, in certain circumstances, can impose conditions to provide additional protections. As set out in the Written Ministerial Statement [HCWS428] of 25 January 2018, as a matter of policy the Government will look at the financial status of all companies wishing to carry out hydraulic fracturing operations, including their ability to fund decommissioning costs. Suitable conditions may be put in place to provide assurance that these costs can be covered.