What’s this? Another consultation?
Yes, indeed. They just keep coming, don’t they? But don’t go away – this one is a bit different.
In what way?
Firstly, it’s a consultation run by the Welsh Government, not the people in Westminster. And secondly, they are consulting on its new policy to oppose fracking and not allow any further oil and gas exploration in Wales.
That sounds like excellent news. How come they’re allowed to do that?
Because of devolution, basically. The Wales Act 2017, which received Royal Assent last year, hands control over the consenting of energy projects – including the future onshore licensing of oil & gas extraction – to the Welsh government from 1st October this year.
Hmm. It would be nice to get that kind of local decision-making in Yorkshire and Lancashire too, wouldn’t it?
We can but dream. The point is that the Welsh government are on the verge of shutting down any chance of fossil fuel production in Wales (including fracking) – but they are consulting on this policy first before they put this plan into practice. Which is where you come in.
I don’t live in Wales. Am I allowed to respond to the consultation?
Yes, anyone in the UK is invited to respond to the consultation (we’ve checked). So this is an opportunity to support a government-led policy (for a change) and add your voice to the consultation.
OK, I’m in. How do I respond?
The home page for this consultation can be found here. As you’ll see, there are quite a few PDF documents on this page, as the Welsh Government have produced a range of Consultation documents which they are asking people to comment on, but don’t let that put you off. The document on the principles behind the consultation itself can be found here.
The easiest way is to respond online, which you can do so by clicking here.
You can also download the response form here: 180703-petroleum-consultation-response-form
And then email it to: YmatebionYnni-EnergyResponses@gov.wales
Or post it to: Fossil Fuel Policy – Petroleum Consultation, Division of Decarbonisation and Energy, Department of Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Welsh government, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NQ.
However, you would need to get postal responses in the post by first thing Monday morning to arrive before the deadline on Tuesday, so we recommend using the online form
DEADLINE IS 23.59 ON TUESDAY 25th SEPTEMBER.
OK. What can I say in response to the consultation?
As you’ll see, the format is a series of boxes asking if you have a view on some the Consultation Documents that are on the home page. We’ve prepared some possible responses, but if you have time, please read the documents yourself and write your own response.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO ADD COMMENTS TO EVERY BOX BUT PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU ANSWER ‘YES’ TO QUESTION 8 – giving brief reasons in the box below it.
QUESTION 1 – Do you have a view on the Climate Change evidence?
This question refers to summary sections 5.10-5.20 of the Consultation Document and the advice they received from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) , which you can find on this PDF (it’s only 3 pages long). this discusses the CCC’s three tests for exploitation of shale gas, and whether these can be applied to Coal Bed Methane (CBM) production. Here are some things that you can mention in your reply.
QUESTION 2 – Do you have a view on the Socio-Environmental evidence?
This question refers to summary sections 5.21-5.38 of the Consultation Document and the socio-economic and environmental reports they received from these sources.
– A Regeneris / AMEC / Cardiff University report from 2015 – see this PDF (122 pages)
– A review of the above report by the Cardiff Business School – see this PDF. (8 pages)
– A review by the Geoenvironmental research centre, Cardiff University – see this PDF. (40 pages)
A lot of the stuff contained in the above is quite technical, but here are some points you can make in your response.
There is a lot more that can be said on the social and environmental impacts of fracking, so please feel free to add your own comments.
QUESTION 3 – Do you have a view on the Health evidence?
This question refers to summary sections 5.39-5.48 of the Consultation Document and this three-page report from Public Health Wales. As with the notoriously uninformed Public Health England, they claim that risks should be low as long as the industry is robustly regulated, and recommends a Wales-specific review. We think this is ignoring much of the evidence out there, so here are some things you can say.
Question 4 – Do you have a view on the Transport and Planning evidence?
Question 5 – Do you have a view on the Decommissioning evidence?
This question refers to summary sections 5.58-5.62 of the Consultation Document and this report from Natural Resources Wales. We haven’t gone into this in detail as we are opposed to fracking and CBM well sites being established in the first place, so don’t feel it’s worth getting into long discussions about how they’re decommissioned, but you could make the following point.
Question 6 – Do you have a view on the Economic evidence?
This question refers to summary sections 5.63-5.71 of the Consultation Document and the reports highlighted in question 2 above. You can make the following points:
Question 7 asks if you have any evidence that you think the Welsh Government should look at. If so, you can post the links or upload the documents.
Here are some that we feel they should look at, but please add your own if you have different ones.
Fracking and Historic Coal Mining: Their relationship and should they coincide? Professor Peter Styles, Keele University https://www.keele.ac.uk/media/keeleuniversity/facnatsci/schgge/news/2018/Fracking%20and%20Mining-%20Styles%202018.pdf
The implications of fracking in UK Gas Import substitution – Professor Calvin Jones, Cardiff Business School.
Shale Gas Production in England – a Public Health Assessment – Medact
Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking (5th edition)
Fracking Industry Wells Associated with Premature Birth – Johns Hopkins University
Fracking Industry Wells Associated With Increased Risk of Asthma Attacks – Johns Hopkins University
Developmental and reproductive effects of chemicals associated with unconventional oil and natural gas operations
Studies find Babies near Fracking well-sites have lower birth weight:
Study: Fracking associated with migraines, fatigue, chronic nasal and sinus symptoms – Johns Hopkins University
Question 8 asks if you agree with the proposed policy: We will not undertake any new petroleum licensing in Wales, or support applications for hydraulic fracturing petroleum license consents.
We strongly recommend that you answer ‘Yes’ to this question.
Below that there is a box where you can give your reasons for this. We would suggest you write this in your own words, including some or all of these points.
Question 9 allows you to upload more documents if you wish to support the above.
And that’s it! Please remember to send this in and then pour yourself a drink for a job well done!