Official Response to Queen’s Speech, June 4th 2014

Frack Free Somerset is strongly opposed to the infrastructure and competitiveness bill announced in today’s Queen’s speech, which aims to change trespass laws to allow unconventional gas exploration companies to drill on private land without first requiring a landowner’s permission. Fracking companies would still need planning permission to drill for shale gas, but the new bill would enable them to install pipes to transport gas under private land.

We regard the government’s bill as cynically designed to remove laws that protect ordinary people and to increase the profits of big business and ministers with vested interests. It follows complaints made last August against leading fracking company, Cuadrilla, when it was forced to settle legal action with at least one Lancashire homeowner. Workers had repeatedly trespassed on private land, and in one garden had marked a site for detonating explosive charges. Cuadrilla subsequently stated that if the government doesn’t change the law, the industry would be completely crushed in the UK; its chief executive, Francis Egan, was further reported as saying it would be ‘impractical’ to negotiate with every individual landowner.

Although affected landowners may be compensated, Frack Free Somerset believes that this will be insufficient to address the severe impacts on water, soil and air quality, and on human and livestock health, which scientific research in the US and Australia demonstrates to be caused by fracking. Other negative effects include a decrease in property prices and land values, as well as water shortages due to the vast quantities of water used in the process.

Fracking has no democratic mandate in the UK, with polls showing less than 50% of the population now in favour of this harmful technology. Frack Free Somerset urges people to join our campaign and to support the development of energy from renewables, especially through publicly and community-owned production. Please lend us your support by signing up at

Posted on: June 4, 2014