Government plans change to trespass rules to help fracking companies – and announces more compensation

23rd May 2014

The Government has published proposals to change the trespass laws, making access easier for fracking companies. It also announced a new compensation scheme for people affected by  shale gas developments

A press release from the Department for Energy and Climate Change said: “The new proposals would simplify procedures which are costly time-consuming and disproportionate for new methods of underground drilling. Oil, gas and deep geothermal companies will be able to explore their potential, and will in return provide a voluntary community payment for access.”

Currently, companies must negotiate rights of access with every landowner living above underground drilling. If negotiations fail, the companies can go to the Secretary of State. DECC says access is likely to be granted if the development is in the national interest.

The proposals are:

  • Right of access for shale gas and deep geothermal operations below 300 metres
  • Voluntary community payment of £20,000 from the shale and geothermal industries per lateral well that extends by more than 200 metres
  • Notification system to alert local people of fracking plans

Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon said: “Britain needs more home-grown energy. Shale development will bring jobs and business opportunities. We are keen for shale and geothermal exploration to go ahead while protecting residents through the robust regulation that is in place. These proposals allow shale and geothermal development while offering a fair deal for communities in return for underground access at depths so deep they will have no negative impact on landowners.”

The government will consult on the proposals for 12 weeks.

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