Ministers to axe planning permission for fracking firms

Ministers to axe planning permission for fracking firms

"We believe that gas has a key part to play in meeting these objectives both now and in the future... Our planning permission to drill and test just four shale gas exploratory wells in Lancashire was granted after a lengthy and costly three year process".

He said: 'A potential new shale gas exploration and production sector in the shale basins of England could provide a new economic driver.

"So we are announcing a range of measures to facilitate timely decisions", Clark said, adding the measures would only apply in England.

If adopted both proposals could radically streamline the planning process for new shale gas projects.

"Dr Frackenstein's sickly monster is lying on the operating table and the government is trying to jolt some life into it in spite of huge national opposition and a growing body of scientific evidence against fracking".

Cuadrilla Resources - which completed the first vertical shale gas exploration well in the United Kingdom for six years earlier this year and is now working on horizontal wells - said the government recognized that shale gas can deliver important economic benefits. A shale environmental regulator and a planning brokerage service will be established to focus on the planning process.

The government also said it will open a consultation on whether exploration wells will be allowed to be be drilled without the need for a planning application.

Weaning Britain off natural gas imports is one of the driving forces behind government support for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which extracts gas from rocks broken up at high pressure with water and chemicals.

The government proposals were less warmly received by opponents of the controversial practice, who have long protested that fracking is damaging to the local environment.

"This announcement is a green light for climate breakdown".

And fracking in widely used in the United States, where it has revolutionised the energy industry.

"These latest measures utterly undermine the government's green rhetoric - and show that the Tories simply can't shake their support for fossil fuel firms".

Greenpeace UK's head of politics Rebecca Newsom accused ministers of "trampling over democracy to prop up this collapsing industry".

Permission to frack would also be the remit of a central government agency and not local councils; the representatives of local people.

"In particular we welcome the measures the Government has introduced on making the planning process "faster and fairer" and providing additional resources to help local authorities".

The shale arm of chemicals giant Ineos - which has licenses to drill at several sites in the United Kingdom - said the country potentially had enough home-grown gas to be self-sufficient for years.

"This country needs a diverse supply of energy which protects and secures United Kingdom jobs and United Kingdom taxes", he said.

But their concerns were dismissed by petrochemicals giant Ineos, which said delays in exploiting United Kingdom gas was leading the country to become dependent on imports from Russian Federation and the Middle East.

Companies including Ineos, Cuadrilla and Third Energy have been bogged in planning battles with local authorities.

"This 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".

Related Articles