Fracking applications to be fast tracked

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Shale gas planning applications will be fast tracked through a new planning process under new measures announced in August. This change comes after Cuadrilla’s difficulties in overcoming planning hurdles and rejections for their fracking applications in Lancashire. Last month Cuadrilla said it planned to appeal a decision by Lancashire County Council to refuse planning consent for two licences for temporary shale gas exploration sites.

The measures include:

  • the Communities Secretary actively considering calling in 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; and
  • taking forward work on revising permitted development rights for drilling boreholes for groundwater monitoring.

 

DECC secretary, Amber Rudd, and Communities and Local Government Secretary, Greg Clark, announced 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.”

For more information, help or advice please contact Andrew Davison on 0191 211 7950.