Barbara has criticised the Conservative-led Government’s plans to allow shale gas companies access to drill under people’s land without first negotiating their right of access.
Conservative Energy Minister, Michael Fallon, has announced a Government consultation on the proposals, which are expected to be included in the Queen’s Speech on June 4th.
Instead of the current rights people have to receive payment for granting access to drill under their land, the Government proposes a voluntary payment scheme to communities affected by drilling by shale gas or oil companies. So, individual payment rights would be lost in exchange for only £20,000 paid to a community body for each horizontal well. Shale gas wells may run horizontally for 2 miles or more underground.
“The Conservative-led Government is showing once again that it is determined to go “all-out” for shale gas, putting the interests of shale gas companies ahead of the interests of the communities affected by the drilling.
Individuals will be losing the right to negotiate payments for access to drill under their land. The proposed voluntary payment by a shale gas company of £20,000 per well to get this access is far too little. It is clear that this payment scheme is insufficient as when exploratory drilling was being done at Barton Moss I know that local people and businesses suffered disruption and substantial financial loss.
I think that these Government plans will cause loss to people affected by drilling without appropriate compensation and I will oppose them both during the consultation and in Parliament.”