Mr Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): Can my right hon. Friend confirm that nearly 200 wells in this country and over 2 million wells worldwide have used hydraulic fracturing technology and not a single person has been poisoned by contaminated sub-surface water supplies and not a single building has been damaged by the resultant minuscule earth tremors?
Michael Fallon: I can certainly confirm that hydraulic fracturing is a well-established technique. It has been used the world over. We also have experience of onshore drilling in this country for nearly 100 years now, since the end of the first world war, and hydraulic fracturing will be permitted only if it is safe not only for those involved but for the environment and the local community.