Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum Conference
On Tuesday 23rd June, Lord Smith spoke at Westminster Forum’s conference: ‘Shale gas in the UK: regulation, addressing challenges, and energy security’. He provided an update on the work of the Task Force and confirmed that its second report will focus on local environmental impact issues, including issues around seismicity, earthquakes, ground water contamination, and what happens to the fluids that are used in the process of fracking and impacts on human health. Lord Smith said that he did not want to pre-empt what the Task Force will be saying publicly when it launches its report.
However, he did say that from everyone the Task Force has spoken to, and from what the Task Force saw during its visit to the United States, there is a crucial importance in ensuring that there is good baseline monitoring in place so that the existing conditions of air, land and water surrounding a site are known before anything actually starts on site, and are then continuously monitored once the process starts. He said that unless we have that baseline information, then we can’t make proper judgements about whether there are any adverse impacts occurring.