Lessons from Leith Hill: two important reports from Keith Taylor MEP

Keith Taylor, the Green MEP who retires in 2019, has been a strong supporter of anti-oil-and-gas-drilling schemes across the South East. Keith has written expert submissions to planning applications and other consultations, hosted meetings and film screenings to help residents get informed about what’s happening in their area, and provided unfailing moral and intellectual support to campaigners across the region.

On the eve of his retirement, Keith published two reports which will prove useful resources for campaigners and others.

The Battle for Leith Hill

The Battle for Leith Hill outlines lessons learned from the (so far) successful campaign to protect Leith Hill from oil and gas drilling. It includes contributions from the Leith Hill Action Group, A Voice for Leith Hill, the Leith Hill Protection Camp and DrillorDrop.com.

A catalogue of oil and gas company failings

Far From Gold Standard: The Flawed Regulatory System for Onshore Oil and Gas‘ sets out to test claims by Greg Clark, the Conservative Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, that the oil and gas regulations in the UK are “among the most robust and stringent in the world.”

The report is a shocking catalogue of failings and breaches, showing that oil and gas firms are regularly breaching the planning and environmental conditions placed on them with little consequence. It concludes:

“This research has catalogued an extensive set of problems relating to the regulation of the extreme onshore oil and gas industry which begs the question of whether it can be effectively regulated. The regulators cannot be on the ground 24/7 to monitor operations, and the reliance on self-regulation and form filling is failing local communities and environmental protection.”

The report also makes a series of recommendations, from community engagement to earthquake monitoring, but acknowledges they “would be costly and complex to implement.”

It continues:

“The industry operates piecemeal and small scale and is, by its nature, difficult to monitor. But there is a real danger in the Government promoting an industry where standards are not good enough, and possibly cannot be made good enough to protect our communities and environment. There should be no expansion of this industry – the focus should be on properly regulating our historic wells.”

 

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