Task Force on Shale Gas Proposes Single Regulator in UK
The debate over shale gas is increasingly regaining footing in the UK, with shale enthusiasts putting on the table new proposals, and shale skeptics equally voicing their vitality.
Against this backdrop, Task Force on Shale Gas, a group established in September 2014 aiming at providing trusted and impartial platform for public scrutiny, proposed a single regulator in charge of both permitting and oversight.
‘The current regulatory oversight for any potential shale gas industry at national level does not command the public confidence that is necessary. The separation of permitting and oversight between the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive is unwieldy and difficult for the public to navigate. A single regulator with overall responsibility is more likely to provide the clear and transparent framework necessary to build public confidence in the issue’ concludes the report released on Wednesday.
According to the panel, the regulator would convey the confidence local communities need. It should be also endowed with the responsibility to cooperate with the European Commission on new regulations on specific to the shale gas industry.
‘It would, of course, take time for a new regulator to be established; however, in our view, a new government after 7 May 2015 should legislate as soon as possible for this to happen. In the meantime the existing regulatory system should continue to operate’ the report says, adding that the local community should be given the chance to be involved in the monitoring of the operations of the fledging shale gas industry.
On the other hand, a recent study commissioned by shale skeptical TalkFracking reached the conclusion that ‘the fracking industry and their PR machine have infiltrated the academic community.’