- Why have you formed a Task Force on Shale Gas?
- What is the Task Force on Shale Gas doing?
- Who is involved?
- What does the Chair do?
- What does the Panel do?
- Will you be working with third parties? Which ones?
- Will you only be looking at the UK?
- Which issues will the Task Force will be looking at?
- What research will you be undertaking with third parties? When?
- When will the Task Force convene?
- What are you expecting to find in the course of the next eighteen months in relation to these issues?
- There are many initiatives in this field at the moment. Isn’t this simply replicating them?
Why have you formed a Task Force on Shale Gas?
To provide a transparent, trusted, independent and impartial platform for public scrutiny, discussion and information about shale gas exploration and production in the UK.
What is the Task Force on Shale Gas doing?
- Gathering and scrutinising comprehensive information about both the potential benefits and the legitimate concerns associated with shale gas exploration and production. Identifying the unanswered crucial questions surrounding the future of shale and its extractive technologies in the future UK energy mix.
- Providing a trusted and transparent ‘go-to’ source of online information, for the public and policymakers, that accurately presents fully-informed and fact-checked representations of all those with a perspective on the major unanswered questions about this energy source.
- Hosting discussions and meetings on issues and research into shale gas exploration and production. These are platforms for robust and well-informed debate, where the views of all sides can be fairly represented.
- Commissioning research into the questions related to shale gas exploration and production which will be independently reviewed.
- Communicating to interested stakeholder groups and the UK public at regional and local levels.
- Publishing a comprehensive series of reports on the Task Force’s findings.
Who is involved?
The Task Force comprises of a Chair, Lord Chris Smith; three Task Force Panel members, Professor Ernest Rutter, Professor Nigel Brandon and Emma Duncan; and a Secretariat provided by Edelman. Additionally, advisory experts from fields ranging from law to environmental science support the Task Force with their advice and viewpoints on specific issues.
What does the Chair do?
The Chair is charged with sole executive authority to agree plans for the Task Force and lead the Secretariat. He is responsible for recruiting and managing Panel Members and third party experts to support the Task Force. Additionally, he is the spokesperson responsible for public engagement. He also approves and endorses the reports issued by the Task Force.
What does the Panel do?
The Panel assesses all available evidence on shale gas extraction and recommends areas for new research. They review reports, commission and review new research and serve as secondary spokespeople for the Task Force.
Will you be working with third parties? Which ones?
The Task Force is working with a group of advisory experts who are supportive of the Mission, but were unable to commit the time required to be Panel Members. These individuals are invited by the Chair to contribute independent review and commentary on specific research and reports. They are Michael Holgate, Professor Sarah O’Hara, Stephen Tindale, Professor Alan Riley, James Taylor, and Dr Rob Ward.
Will you only be looking at the UK?
The Task Force recognises the regulatory, legislative and planning decisions already underway in the UK. As such, it seeks to complement the public’s and policymakers’ access to impartial information to support well-informed decisions on the future of shale gas in the UK. While the Task Force will seek to inform the UK market, it will draw on research, case studies and data points from a global scale.
Which issues will the Task Force will be looking at?
The Task Force has identified four key themes dominating public opinion. They are climate change, economic, environmental protection and local impact. Within these themes the Task Force has called for evidence under a number of individual headings.
What research will you be undertaking with third parties? When?
There is a great deal of research already produced that the Task Force is examining following calls for evidence. The topics on which the Task Force will commission new research will be drawn from gaps and unanswered public questions after a thorough review of the evidence that is already available.
When will the Task Force convene?
Under our terms of reference, we meet formally at least four times a year. Our meetings will be documented and published on our website.
What are you expecting to find in the course of the next eighteen months in relation to these issues?
There are no explicit points to prove with respect to each of the issues. The Task Force aims to establish itself as a credible, impartial authority on the subject of shale gas exploration and extraction. It aims to improve public understanding by engaging in an unbiased dialogue with stakeholders and the public representing all sides of the issues. The overarching aim of the Task Force is to present clear, evidence-based data and research on shale gas issues, and reduce the amount of misinformation in the public domain.
There are many initiatives in this field at the moment. Isn’t this simply replicating them?
The aim of the Task Force is to navigate the many opinions and initiatives that exist already. We see our role as building on the good work that has gone before, sifting out inaccuracies or misconceptions and providing a public resource on the potential risks and benefits of shale gas.