As part of its preparations for a new round of shale gas licenses, DECC will today publish a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for Further Onshore Oil & Gas Licencing. It has been produced by Engineering firm AMEC.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
THE SHEER SCALE OF THE PROPOSALS
The Department’s most recent map of the 14th Onshore Licencing Round covers over two –thirds of England.
In a pre- briefing on the SEA in September, and as reported in the Financial Times, AMEC said it only expected between 15,900 and 24,300 direct and indirect jobs to be created during peak shale gas production. This figure is just a third of the 74,000 figure previously quoted by David Cameron. There is some talk of the jobs figures now having been revised upwards. It will be interesting to see tomorrow if this is the case, and on what basis.
In the pre-briefing, AMEC also referred to the potential for leakage of employment opportunities, giving the example of Cuadrilla’s Preese Hall site in Lancashire where only “17% of total jobs were within the local area and more than a third were overseas”.
AMEC revealed in September that there would be up to 48 truck movements per site, per day over a 46-117 week period. They said that the "scale of movement may have an adverse impact on traffic, congestion, noise and air quality".
AMEC said that there will be "significant negative effects on greenhouse gas for unconventional oil and gas" and concurred with DECC’s chief scientist that the overall effect could be to increase global fossil fuel reserves rather than displace them.
AMEC described water usage as significant and raised uncertainties about how it will be treated – “it's a lot of water that will require management".
P previously described as “crumbs off the table” by a group of MPs with constituencies impacted by current fracking proposals. The Environmental Assessment will look at how much money could go to communities in total and who it will be paid to.
Greenpeace Energy Campaigner Anna Jones said:
“The Government is proposing to open two thirds of England up to fracking, including small rural villages, areas of outstanding natural beauty, national parks and protected wildlife areas. As AMEC’s assessment will show, the local environmental impacts are likely to be considerable.
With even the fracking companies admitting UK shale won’t bring down bills, and the Government’s community sweeteners being described as “crumbs off the table” you can understand the growing opposition across the country.
There is no public mandate for this industrialisation of the English countryside and for digging up new forms of fossil fuels. The Government has a fight on its hands.”
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