Transparency watchdog orders ministers to publish censored fracking report in full

Last edited 18 June 2015 at 1:45pm

Greenpeace urges government to release evidence before Cuadrilla decision next week

18 June, 2015

The UK’s transparency watchdog has ruled ministers must publish the full version of a heavily redacted report into the impacts of fracking following a year-long transparency campaign by Greenpeace UK.

The decision by the Information Commissioner Officer was made public today, just a week before Lancashire authorities are due to give a much anticipated verdict on two fracking applications by energy firm Cuadrilla.

The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs published a version of the report last year after coming under pressure from campaigners. But the document released to the public had 63 chunks of text missing, including on such sensitive issues as the impact of fracking on house prices, rural businesses, and local services. [1]

Greenpeace is today urging the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs to make the full report available to Lancashire councillors before next week’s decision. In February, a cross-party motion passed unanimously by the council urged the government to disclose the full report ‘in the interests of transparency’. [2]

Commenting on the Information Commissioner’s decision, Greenpeace UK energy and climate campaigner Daisy Sands said:

“The government’s stubborn refusal to publish this report in full is totally indefensible. By cherry-picking which evidence is released, ministers are misleading both the public and local councillors as to the real impacts of fracking.

“Lancashire authorities are about to make a decision that will have huge repercussions for the life of their communities. They should have access to all the evidence, not just the sanitised digest produced by the government.

“We urge ministers to disclose the whole report before next week’s decision, letting residents and their councillors make up their own minds about fracking.”

The redacted study, entitled Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts, is the only known government report looking at the full range of fracking’s potential side-effects, including house prices.

Both government officials and the shale industry have repeatedly said there is no evidence that fracking will affect house prices, but reports from estate agents and local residents paint a different picture.

A survey commissioned by Greenpeace and published in May revealed estate agents in areas close to potential fracking sites believe the controversial industry could wipe tens of thousands of pounds off the values of nearby properties and make homes harder to sell. [3]

Some Lancashire residents have already complained about the impact of looming fracking developments on their properties. One homeowner reported a £500k drop in the value of her home, whilst others have experienced difficulties in selling and even renting out their properties. [4] 


Contact: Stefano Gelmini, m 07506 512442



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