Ministers quizzed on fracking, climate change and conflicts of interest.

Politicians have asked ministers about new fracking licences, the role of shale gas in UK energy and potential conflicts of interest for climate advisors.

The Liberal Democrat peer, Lord Greaves, asked whether the government planned to issue new exploration licences for shale gas and what advice was provided to existing licence holders.

The energy minister, Lord Callanan, said licences were issued by the Oil & Gas Authority. He also said the government’s moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in England was set out in a written ministerial from November 2019. He said:

“the shale gas industry should take the Government’s position into account when considering new developments.”

In response to another question by Lord Greaves on the contribution of shale gas to UK energy needs, Lord Callanan said the most recent report on security of energy supply did not include hydraulically fractured shale gas in any of its assessments.

The Lib Dem MP, Wera Hobhouse, asked the energy secretary what steps he was taking to ensure there were no conflicts of interest on the Climate Change Committee, the government’s advisor, and on other official advisory boards. This question is due to be answered early next week.