Thank you for getting in touch to express your concerns about the possible relaxation of fracking regulations and the weakening of earthquake regulations.
In February, I agreed to co-sign a letter to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) asking them to ensure that earthquake rules for fracking are not weakened.
The 0.5 richter limit is a vital element of regulation and must be maintained – both because it was agreed to by the industry and to give any semblance of comfort to communities affected by it.
It would be inappropriate for either the Government or the regulator to agree to industry demands to lift the upper cap on seismic activity purely for commercial reasons.
The Government has been clear that there are “no plans” to relax the 0.5ML limit or replace the traffic light system, despite industry demands. I have asked BEIS to require the Oil & Gas Authority to retain the limit and recognise there is no appetite in Parliament or the community for any loosening of these regulations.