Fracking in Dundee and The Ferry

Frack free Dundee?
Several constituents have written to me voicing concerns about the potential negative effects of Hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking' in Dundee. 

The publicity surrounding the public protest to the test drilling by Cuadrilla at Balcombe in Sussex and the application by Dart Energy for exploratory drilling in Airth near Stirling seems to aroused many conversations about fracking and the environmental costs and benefits of this.

My constituents' concerns focus on the environmental effects triggered by the fracking process. Firstly, they commented on the earth tremors and the effects of these on private and public property. Secondly the potential for pollution of water supplies from the chemicals introduced to help release the gas trapped in the shale beds underground. Finally they wanted know whether the City Council would have a say in granting licenses for exploratory drilling and subsequent extraction of shale gas on land in the City.

On the last matter, I wrote to the Planning Department of the City Council. 

In their response my attention was drawn to a useful Frequently Asked Question on the website of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)

FAQ Who else regulates this industry?

The other regulators (other than SEPA) involved in the control of these operations include:

  • The Department of Energy and Climate Change - responsible for issuing a Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence.
  • The Local Planning Authority - Responsible for granting planning permission under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 for surface works associated with borehole construction, fracturing operations and wellhead development.
  • The Health and Safety Executive - The Borehole Sites and Operations Regulations 1995.
  • The Coal Authority - Any activity which intersects, disturbs or enters coal seams.
The City Planner also confirmed that:
"we have had no applications or indeed enquiries about surface works associated with borehole construction, fracturing operations and wellhead development. I am not aware of any licences having been granted for Dundee (by the Department of Energy and Climate Change)."