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Policy update

Parl It has been a busy few months for the Society’s policy advisers, says Florence Bullough*

The Geological Society’s science policy activities cover a wide range of topics, from funding for research and teaching in universities, to providing advice to policymakers on sustainable resources and conserving the geological heritage.

We have continued to respond to inquiries about shale gas, providing relevant geoscientific information regarding what is known (and not known) about resources and reserves, and possible environmental impacts. The Society issued a short statement on the Government’s announcements on shale gas in December (, and responded to the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee’s inquiry into The Impact of Shale Gas on Energy Markets (, as well as a European Commission consultation on Unconventional Fossil Fuels ( Both were made jointly with PESGB. Professor Richard Davies (University of Durham) also appeared as a Society witness at the ECCC inquiry, the report of which should be out by the time you read this.

We have also made written submissions to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s inquiries into Water Quality ( and Public Understanding of Climate Change (; to two Parliamentary inquiries into Open Access publishing, DEFRA’s triennial review of the Environment Agency and Natural England, and a consultation on the proposed new National Curriculum for England – a process with which we have been engaged since 2011.

When the opportunity arises, we also take the initiative to stimulate discussion with policy-makers. In early January, the Society (with AAPG), hosted a two-day international conference on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). Following two days of cutting-edge research, Parliamentarians, officials and others joined delegates for a panel discussion on broader policy implications.

As part of National Science and Engineering Week (March), the Society was represented by three young geoscientists at Voice of the Future, an event in Parliament at which they and their colleagues from other learned societies questioned members of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, Science and Universities Minister David Willets and the then Government Chief Scientific Adviser Sir John Beddington. Footage of this event can be found on the UK Parliament website.

• Society responses and public statements can all be found at

* Florence Bullough is currently Policy Intern at the Society.