MP attends launch of fracking watchdog

Mark Menzies at a Cuadrilla shale gas site at Singleton.
Mark Menzies at a Cuadrilla shale gas site at Singleton.
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FYLDE MP Mark Menzies welcomed a new group set up to regulate controversial UK shale gas activity.

Mr Menzies attended a meeting held by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to launch the new Office of Unconventional Gas & Oil (OUGO), which was created after he campaigned for a watchdog be set up to oversee hydraulic gas fracturing exploration.

In December, Energy Secretary Ed Davey gave the green light for exploratory drilling by Cuadrilla to go ahead after Chancellor George Osborne had announced the new office would be set up to watch over the processes.

Opponents of fracking say it may be linked to earth tremors and may cause water pollution.

During the first meeting this week, Mr Davey confirmed that Duarte Figueira – former head of the renewables deployment team in the Office for Renewable Energy Deployment – will head the new department.

Mr Menzies said: “The reason I called for this office to be set up was so that there would be complete transparency around the whole process of shale gas exploration.

“As my constituency is at the heart of this debate, I was anxious to ensure Fylde was completely protected from the outset.

“At the first meeting of the new office, it was very encouraging to see the calibre of people invited to give their views – including environmental campaigners and those who would be in charge of overseeing the regulation of the industry.

“For me one of the key priorities of the office will be to listen to the views of local people and ensure that regulation is seamless and robust.”

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