"Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee; Planning & Development Committee 17 December 2015 Dear Cllr Inman,
New Onshore Oil & Gas Exploration Licence
I am writing to you concerning the Government’s announcement today about the UK 14th Round for onshore oil and gas exploration licences. As you may be aware my company, Cuadrilla Resources, has been offered a number of licences to explore for shale gas in the area of North Yorkshire and East Riding outlined in these maps, part of which is covered by your local authority.
Cuadrilla Resources is a British company which aims to lead best practice for unconventional hydrocarbon exploration in Europe. We take our responsibilities with regards to safety, environmental protection and working with local communities very seriously.
We are pleased to be offered these new exploration licences which are in addition to the licence areas that were announced in August 2015. The blocks we have been offered today have been subject to assessment under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 in preparation for today’s announcement by the Government.
We welcome the potential for exploration in North Yorkshire and East Riding and the associated benefits of new jobs and economic growth we believe it will bring. For the next year activity in this new licence area will largely centre on desktop studies and potentially acquiring some seismic data. This will provide us with a detailed insight into the geology deep underneath the licence area and help in the assessment of locations for potential future exploration sites.
Any future proposed exploration sites would be the subject of planning applications to the local authority, applications to the Environment Agency and HSE for regulatory approvals, an Environmental Impact Assessment where potential fracking is involved along with extensive public consultation and other community engagement.
On the matter of community benefit, the shale gas industry, through its representative body UK Onshore Oil & Gas (UKOOG) has agreed with Government to pay £100,000 to the community local to each exploration site where it has been granted full planning and regulatory permissions to hydraulically fracture an exploration well.
Our first priority will be to talk with the local communities and their elected representatives. We would therefore welcome the opportunity to meet with you and discuss our plans in more detail.
We recognise that some members of the public will have concerns and we have a responsibility to communicate with the local community regularly and transparently about any proposed work and future operations and to reassure them that onshore exploration and fracking can and will be done safely, securely and in an environmentally responsible way. A community helpline is already set up for people in Yorkshire who may have early questions about onshore oil and gas exploration. The number is: 0800 1303 884.
Yours sincerely, Francis Egan. CEO, Cuadrilla Resources "
On 22 January 2016 the Scrutiny of Health Committee (SoHC) and the Transport, Economy and Environment OSC (TEEOSC) we will be holding a joint meeting to consider the broad strategic issues around fracking with a view to influencing policy, such as the Joint Mineral & Waste Development Framework Plan for NYCC, CYC and NYM National Park Authority. This will include looking to see if the Plan is underpinned by all the relevant safeguards and regulations relating to the potential public health implications of fracking and the extent to which the Plan is future proof should, for instance, there is a proliferation of wells across the area.
Members from the TEEOSC will be exploring issues relating to the water supply, air emissions & health, habitats and biodiversity, geological integrity, noise & disruption etc.
The objective of the meeting will not be to examine the merits of individual planning applications or to reach a view on whether fracking should or should not be supported.
I am starting to pull papers together for the meeting and as this is such a complicated matter I thought it would be helpful to send you some background information well in advance. Please see the attached document which contains a number of hyperlinks to a range of documents and reports. If you would like paper copies of the documents please let me know.
In the finalised report a list of suggested questions will be produced to assist the discussion with the external organisations due to attend. Most of these questions are based on the reading material.
The external organisations invited to attend on the 22 January include Friends of the Earth, the UK Onshore Operators Group, Department for Energy and Climate Change, Oil & Gas Authority, Environment Agency, Health and Safety Executive, Public Health England and Yorkshire Water.
Very best wishes for the Christmas festivities,
Plus one - Cuadrilla? Time to get uberized ;-)