Faster decision making on shale gas
Shale gas planning applications will be fast-tracked through a new dedicated planning process, the Government has announced.
The new measures include:
- The Communities Secretary actively considering calling in on a case by case basis shale planning applications and considering recovering appeals
- Identifying councils that repeatedly fail to determine oil and gas applications within the 16 week statutory timeframe requirement (unless applicants agree to a longer period). Underperforming councils’ gas and oil planning applications could be determined by the Communities Secretary
- Adding shale applications as a specific criterion for recovery of appeals, to ensure no application can “fall through the cracks”
- Ensuring planning call ins and appeals involving shale applications are prioritised by the Planning Inspectorate
- Taking forward work on revising permitted development rights for drilling boreholes for groundwater monitoring.
Energy and climate change secretary, Amber Rudd, comments: “As a One Nation Government, we are backing the safe development of shale gas because it’s good for jobs giving hardworking people and their families more financial security, good for our energy security and part of our plan to decarbonise the economy. We need more secure, home grown energy supplies – and shale gas must play a part in that.
“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. Oversight by the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency of shale developments makes our commitment to safety and the environment crystal clear. We now need, above all else, a system that delivers timely planning decisions and works effectively for local people and developers.”