DECC Consultation – respond by 13th August

10407318_103762793306898_7906153390909481145_n[1]Blimey, there are a lot of consultations flying around these days. What’s this one about?

It’s a consultation by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) Parliamentary Select Committee entitled “ECC priorities for holding Government to account”. Select committees are a key way that Parliament – our MPs – hold the Government to account.

How can I submit comments?

The best way is to go to the DECC Commons Select Committee website and submit comments there. There’s more about how to do this further down the page.

Can I tweet them?

Yes, you can. They are also taking submissions and comments on Twitter, using the hashtag #UKEnergyPriorities by tweeting them at @CommonsECC.

The Committee also hopes to host a stakeholder forum in Westminster on the morning of Tuesday 8th September to discuss its potential work programme in more detail. You can apply to take part in this forum by including your request to do so in your response.

When’s the deadline?

This Thursday, 13th August. The consultation closes at midnight.

Better get on with it, then. What do we have to do?

According to the website, “The Energy and Climate Change Committee is seeking written submissions on which Government policies require scrutiny over the coming years”. We’re told that our views “will help to inform the new Energy and Climate Change Committee’s future work programme”.

The Committee invites responses addressing the following questions in no more than 300 words:

  • Which DECC policy areas do you think require particular scrutiny over the next five years?
  • What should be the Committee’s scrutiny priorities over the next twelve months?

Any ideas on what to say?

You could discuss some of these issues and make some of the following points. Please try and respond in your own words, giving supporting evidence if you can (but it’s not essential).
Of course, these are just guidelines, there may be many other points you would like to make on this topic, or other areas that you think require particular scrutiny in the future.

Here are some updated suggested answers:

Which DECC policy areas do you think require particular scrutiny over the next five years?

  • Introduce sweeping and wide-ranging policies to support renewables and clean energy.
  • Set up an all-party scrutiny committee to tackle energy policy and climate change from the ground up. We need a new energy economy based on renewable energy.
  • Stop the rush towards fracking and support renewables instead – better for the environment, the economy (investing in renewables produces far more jobs than fracking).
  • Take climate change seriously and set meaningful targets – not just ‘the least you can get away with’, as is current government policy.
  • Starting a new fossil fuel industry such as fracking will increase climate change. Methane leaks will offset any supposed benefit for climate change compared to coal.
  • Fracking has no social licence – local communities don’t want it, the public doesn’t want it – only 21% support fracking (DECC Wave 14) compared to 75% supporting renewables.
  • Energy policy driven by energy companies who fund the Conservative Party and whose lobbyists have undue influence over government departments, not by climate science.
  • Scrutiny and analysis of the wider costs of climate change on health, and the costs to the NHS.
  • Independent scrutiny of the supposed ‘gold standard’ regulations for the fracking industry; much of the industry is self-regulated; government continually stripping away ‘red tape’ – ie ‘regulations that protect the public and environment’ – making it easy for fracking companies to operate with impunity.

What should be the Committee’s scrutiny priorities over the next twelve months?

  • Stop subsidising the fossil fuel industry (currently £400 per person per year according to IMF figures) – renewables need a level playing field to thrive.
  • Scrutiny of funding cuts for DECC, HSE and EA – not enough staff to monitor current fracking test wells, let alone thousands of new ones.
  • Set clear, ambitious and binding targets for fossil fuel reduction at the Paris summit.
  • Public scrutiny of the Shale Gas Task Force, which is funded by the oil and gas industry and run by fracking PR company Edelman – hardly independent!
  • There is currently no government reporting or monitoring of the effect of fracking on wildlife and ecology.
  • An immediate moratorium on fracking so that the last three years’ reports on health can be evaluated (80% show damage to human health of fracking, yet the government ignores them all, basing their claims on a narrow and out-of-date HSE report from 2012)

You could also make some or all of these points:


  • Urgent need for a moratorium on fracking, while all the evidence of the last three years is considered. Fracking banned elsewhere for safety reasons – why not here?
  • Dangers of fracking to health (baseline monitoring of human health near wells, radon monitoring, abandoned wells leak methane, chemicals, etc.)
  • Negative effect on day-to-day life for people living near wells (traffic, noise, light pollution, etc.)
  • No government reporting or monitoring of the effect of fracking on wildlife and ecology.
  • Lack of independence in scientific evidence (e.g. Shale Gas Task Force controlled by industry PR Company)
  • Lack of public support (only 21% support fracking, 75% support renewables, so why ignore public opinion?)
  • Government is overriding local democracy (Amber Rudd’s new guidelines to councils to ‘fast-track’ fracking, compared to wind farms, which have local veto)
  • Locking ourselves into a fossil fuel future if we develop shale gas, when we should be moving away from fossil fuels.
  • Regulations on fracking are being eroded and watered down. Now to be allowed in SSSIs, Groundwater Source Zones. Government should scrutinise how many promises they have broken in their ‘dash for gas’.
  • Lack of funding and staff for monitoring agencies such as the EA, HSE and DECC. Budgets still being cut. How can they possibly monitor the fracking industry effectively?


  • Government not taking climate change seriously. All policies point towards more fossil fuels, not less. Serious binding targets need to be set and scrutinised.
  • Climate change policy is dictated by energy companies, big business and their lobbyists, who systematically undermine all efforts to combat climate change.
  • Removal of support for renewables undermines fight against climate change.
  • Need for an all-party scrutiny committee to seriously tackle climate change from the ground up. We need a new energy economy based on renewable energy, which will also deliver energy security.
  • Other greenhouse gases – such as methane – should be included in climate change calculations, not just CO2.
  • Subsidies – the Government subsidises fossil fuels to the tune of £400 per person every year, while renewables receive only £70 per person. Level playing field?
  • Urgent need for national energy-saving programme (insulation of homes, solar panels, etc.). We waste 10-15% of all energy used.
  • The effect of climate change on health, and the costs to the NHS.


  • Fracking will not produce energy security as gas will be sold on the open market, like North Sea gas and oil. We sell 20-25% of our North Sea gas abroad. Why not use that in the UK, instead of fracking?
  • Renewable industry will create far more jobs than fracking. Give support to renewables and you have both energy security and more jobs.
  • Even thousands of fracking wells will only provide 10-15% of our energy. Why bother starting a whole new industry when we desperately need to cut our carbon emissions?

Please write your comments on a Word Document or similar and send to DECC via this submission form link.

And don’t forget to mention if you would like to be invited to the Forum discussion on Tuesday 8th September at the House of Commons. If you do, this will be a round table discussion and you will not be required to make a presentation.

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