London, 22 September – Net Zero Watch has called on the Government to declare shale gas development a matter of national security.
Welcoming the lifting of the moratorium on shale gas operations in the UK today, Net Zero Watch director Dr Benny Peiser said that this was ‘an important first step on the road back to energy security’, but warned that national security measures were necessary to get the industry back on track in the short term.
Dr Peiser said:
Twenty years of failed energy policy needs to be reversed in short order, so the government needs to be operating on an energy emergency footing.”
Urgent next steps include:
- Regulation of seismic activity needs to be brought into line with other industries, through application of the appropriate British Standard rather than ministerial whim.
- Planning rules need to be reformed so that a single application covers all drilling activity on a single pad, rather than a single well.
- An emergency process to expedite processing of applications should be put in place.
Dr Peiser said:
In light of a worsening energy cost and security crisis that may last for years, the government needs to urgently look at exploiting all domestic energy resources.”
Actions for consideration are:
- Coalbed methane: the Scottish Government has imposed a moratorium on the Falkirk gas field. With energy now a matter of urgent national security, this should be overridden by Westminster.
- Plans to extract methane from under the Firth of Forth, using coal gasification, should be reactivated, again overriding the Holyrood administration if necessary.
- Coal mining: coal mines and coal-fired power stations need to be developed.
Net Zero Watch has published a short plan, showing how the Government could save households £1500 per year, starting this winter, with a further £1200 per household possible the following winter.