The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has recently consulted on proposals to introduce a permitted development right for shale gas exploration.i Shale gas exploration takes place in order to identify suitable sites for hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’), and can have a number of impacts on local communities.
- Shale gas exploration and development must be accountable to the local democratic planning system. Local communities and their elected councils should continue to be responsible for decisions relating to development in their areas, through a full planning application process.
- We do not support proposals for a permitted development right for shale gas exploration. This would bypass the planning system and undermine the right of local residents to have a say on important planning matters.
- It is important that people living near shale gas development sites are represented in decision on the development of sites. These sites have the potential to substantially alter the look and feel of any community, and those most affected should have a say.
- Before granting permission for fracking exploration, councils need to be assured that the relevant sites will be covered by the full range of regulatory regimes. This should include potential incidences of seismic activity and water pollution, the disposal of waste water, well construction and well integrity.
- If the Government grants a permitted development right to explore for shale gas, some key areas must be exempted. Among these are national parks, conservation areas and sites of special scientific interest.
- The planning process needs developers, councils and local communities to work together to create effective partnerships. The earlier in the planning process these relationships are built, the more likely it is that positive outcomes will be achieved for local communities.
Download the full briefing
Permitted Development and shale gas exploration - House of Commons debate, 28 March 2019