Maria Eagle – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Maria Eagle on 2014-04-02.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many staff at the Environment Agency are working on the regulation of fracking in England and Wales; and what reductions in the budget of the Environment Agency have affected people working on that regulation.

Dan Rogerson

The Environment Agency has set up a team of ten national officers working full time to develop the regulatory regime for oil and gas activities. This work covers conventional and unconventional oil and gas activities.

This team is supported by additional technical resource from elsewhere in the organisation. The workload fluctuates and these specialists are not solely dedicated to regulating and permitting unconventional activities. It is therefore not possible to give an exact answer, but the Agency estimates that approximately 40 further members of staff are currently involved in this work across England.

UK Government policy is to ensure the shale industry is able to develop in a safe, sustainable and environmentally responsible way within a well-regulated environment. Regulating the industry will remain a priority for the Environment Agency. Funding for setting up the regulatory regime comes from Defra grant-in-aid. Work to regulate individual sites is financed through the charges the Environment Agency raises for environmental permits and licences, supported where necessary by the grant-in-aid.