Peter Lilley: My Lords, given that the two forms of domestic energy that can most rapidly come on stream and displace expensive imports are onshore wind and onshore shale gas, why does the Minister not introduce a system where, if a majority of the people in the vicinity of any proposed site to produce onshore wind or onshore gas vote in favour of it in return for cheap electricity or gas, it can go ahead?
Lord Callanan: Both the cases highlighted by my noble friend show the difficulties of proceeding in this environment, because we are a democratic society; we have strict planning rules and we have to try to proceed with these things with care and the support of local communities. I have outlined the position a number of times in relation to onshore wind. With regard to fracking for shale gas, my noble friend will be aware that the Business Secretary commissioned the British Geological Survey to do a further study to see if extraction of shale gas can take place without the unfortunate seismic events that occurred the last time it was tried. We will continue to be guided by the science in this respect.