Environment Bill — New Clause 12 — Well Consents for Hydraulic Fracturing: Cessation of Issue and Termination — 26 May 2021 at 17:15
The majority of MPs voted not to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract hydrocarbons from the ground.
The proposed new clause rejected in this vote was titled:Well consents for hydraulic fracturing: cessation of issue and termination and stated:
- (1) No well consent which permits associated hydraulic fracturing may be issued by the Oil and Gas Authority (‘OGA’).
- (2) Sections 4A and 4B of the Petroleum Act 1998 (as inserted by section 50 of the Infrastructure Act 2015), are repealed.
- (3) Any well consent which has been issued by the OGA which—
- (a) permits associated hydraulic fracturing, and
- (b) is effective on the day on which this Act receives Royal Assent shall cease to be valid three months after this Act receives Royal Assent.
- (4) In this section—
- ‘associated hydraulic fracturing’ means hydraulic fracturing of shale or strata encased in shale which—
- (a) is carried out in connection with the use of the relevant well to search or bore for or get petroleum, and
- (b) involves, or is expected to involve, the injection of—
- (i) more than 1,000 cubic metres of fluid at each stage, or expected stage, of the hydraulic fracturing, or
- (ii) more than 10,000 cubic metres of fluid in total, or
- (iii) acid intended to dissolve rock;
- and ‘well consent’ means a consent in writing of the OGA to the commencement of drilling of a well.”
The rejected new clause was accompanied by the following statement from its proposer:
- This new clause would prevent the Oil and Gas Authority from being able to provide licences for hydraulic fracturing, exploration or acidification, and would revoke current licences after a brief period to wind down activity.
Section 4A of the Petroleum Act 1998 prohibited the Oil and Gas Authority from permitting associated hydraulic fracturing at a depth of less than 1000 metres without ministerial consent, and set conditions on ministerial consent being given. Conditions included avoiding protected areas. Section 4B provided for associated definitions and provisions relating to the designation of protected areas.
The impact of removing Sections 4A and 4B of the Petroleum Act 1998 alone would be to deregulate associated hydraulic fracturing, however the regulatory provisions would be superfluous if associated hydraulic fracturing was banned. Subsection (1) of the proposed new clause introduced such a ban.
The meaning of Petroleum is interpreted as including any mineral oil or relative hydrocarbon and natural gas existing in its natural condition in strata.
It appears all hydraulic fracturing to extract hydrocarbons comes under the definition of "associated hydraulic fracturing".
-  Parliament's webpage on the Environment Bill, Parliament.uk
-  Explanatory notes to the Environment Bill, 30 January 2020, Parliament.uk
-  Environment Bill as of 27 November 2020. Parliament.uk
-  Section 4A of the Petroleum Act 1998
-  Section 4B of the Petroleum Act 1998
-  Section 1 of the Petroleum Act 1998
Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.
What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.
What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.
What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.
|Party||Majority (No)||Minority (Aye)||Both||Turnout|
|Con||348 (+2 tell)||1||0||96.4%|
|Lab||0||193 (+2 tell)||0||98.5%|
|Alexander Stafford||Rother Valley||Con (front bench)||aye|