The Scottish National Party (SNP) has pointed out that an objection from a single peer in the House of Lords could have stymied the government amendment removing the right of property owners to object to drilling under their land. The SNP does not sit in the Lords on principle.
According to the standing orders of the House of Lords Grand Committee, a single voice against an amendment results in its rejection. But when the committee considered the fracking proposal on 14 October it went through without objection.
If it becomes law, the proposal would let companies prospecting for underground gas or oil to drill 300 metres or more below properties across the UK without requiring the owners’ permission. The Grangemouth multinational, Ineos, announced last week that it was investing up to £640 million in fracking for shale gas, and has a licence to explore 742 square miles of central Scotland.
Fracking is a way of fracturing rocks deep underground by injecting high-pressure liquids into them so that trapped shale gas can escape. There are also highly controversial plans to exploit other forms of underground gas, including coalbed methane in Falkirk and coal gasification under the Firth of Forth.