Government green light for speedier shale planning applications
17 May 2018
Business secretary Greg Clark has vowed to speed up planning applications to develop shale gas exploration in the UK.
In a written response to Parliament, the minister said it was essential that Government addressed the problems posed by declining North Sea gas reserves and increased reliance on imported supplies.
Companies involved in onshore oil and gas exploration have complained that the current regulatory process takes years, with commercial exploitation unlikely until after 2020.
News that the process for application would be streamlined to allow speedier decisions was criticised by environmental groups but welcomed by industry representatives from Cuadrilla, Ineos and UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG).
UKOOG chief executive Ken Cronin commented: “This country needs a diverse supply of energy which protects and secures UK jobs and UK taxes. Imported gas currently costs over £13 million a day – money that is not generating jobs or tax revenues in this country.
“Today’s announcement goes some way to ensuring that our energy security is protected and the benefits we have already seen flowing into communities become much more widespread.”
The Government also plans:
A fund to advise local authorities facing increased applications
An environmental regulator for the shale industry
Consultation on possible relaxation of planning requirement for exploratory drilling
Further information is expected from the the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy soon.