UK: shale gas exploration applications to be expedited
Shale gas planning applications will be fast-tracked through a new, dedicated planning process, under measures revealed by Energy and climate change Secretary Amber Rudd and Communities Secretary Greg Clark Greg Clark.
Department of Energy & Climate Change informed in a statement that the plans will ensure local people have a strong say over the development of shale exploration in their area, but will ensure communities and the industry benefit from a swift process for developing safe and suitable new sites.
New measures include identifying councils that repeatedly fail to determine oil and gas applications within the 16 week statutory timeframe, with subsequent applications potentially decided by the Communities Secretary.
Amber Rudd said, “To ensure we get this industry up and running we can’t have a planning system that sees applications dragged out for months, or even years on end.”
The government has made clear shale is a national priority, helping to move the UK to a low-carbon economy.
The new measures will mean ministers will consider calling in any application for shale exploration, and will recover appeals on a case-by-case basis.
Local communities will remain fully involved in planning decisions with any shale application – whether decided by councils or government. And demanding planning rules to ensure shale development happens only at appropriate sites remain unchanged.
On top of this, strong safety and environmental safeguards are also already in place through the regulatory regime to ensure shale exploration and extraction is safe and only happens in appropriate places.