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Sounding board: Environment Agency research needs for onshore oil and gas (shale gas)

                               Sciencewise funded project 2016


During 2015, Sciencewise developed a Sounding Board model as a form of deliberative engagement with public participants in response to requests from policy makers throughout Government for processes which are quicker and cheaper than most previous public dialogue projects.

This sounding board

In recent times there has been increasing interest in, and increasing controversy over, the potential for onshore development of “unconventional” hydrocarbon energy sources, coupled with much greater focus on our existing oil and gas industry. The development of this industry could have major economic and security implications but has also raised substantial objections in the public mind. The Environment Agency (EA) has a key role to play in ensuring effective regulation of the onshore oil and gas industry and in protecting the environment. Yet in recent months, the EA has come under strong criticism from some parties who may suggest that decisions are not impartial or fair or based on sound science.  Some of the other reasons behind this may be a lack of understanding of the real role and the limits of the powers and duties of the EA, combined with a limited transparency in decision-making, particularly in assessment of relative risks. It may well be that expert views of risks do not address the public’s concerns. Read more.


Project Status

Final Report and Evaluation Report Published - September 2016.

Delivered By

The Environment Agency
The Environment Agency is an Executive Non-departmental Public Body responsible to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and a Welsh Government Sponsored Body responsible to the Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development.

This project was delivered by Sciencewise using a deliberative video conference (Sounding Board).