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.

MPs were considering the Environment Bill.[1][2]

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  • (2) Sections 4A and 4B of the Petroleum Act 1998 (as inserted by section 50 of the Infrastructure Act 2015), are repealed.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[4] 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[5] 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[6].

It appears all hydraulic fracturing to extract hydrocarbons comes under the definition of "associated hydraulic fracturing".

See also: Hydraulic fracturing in the United Kingdom on Wikipedia


Debate in Parliament |

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Party Summary

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.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Alliance0 10100.0%
Con348 (+2 tell) 1096.4%
DUP8 00100.0%
Green0 10100.0%
Independent1 40100.0%
Lab0 193 (+2 tell)098.5%
LDem0 110100.0%
PC0 30100.0%
SDLP0 20100.0%
Total:357 216097.3%

Rebel Voters - sorted by vote

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

Alexander StaffordRother ValleyCon (front bench)aye

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