Government proposals to make changes to the planning rules for shale gas and fracking are to come under scrutiny at a meeting of MPs next month.
The proposals, currently part of a public consultation, seek to make non-fracking shale gas schemes permitted development. This would avoid the need for planning permission from a local council. The government also proposes to classify major shale gas production schemes as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. This would give decision-making to a government minister, rather than the local authority.
The All Party Parliamentary Group on the impact of shale gas called today for witnesses to appear at its October meeting.
A statement from the group, chaired by the Conservative Lee Rowley, said:
“In particular, the group is looking for witnesses who have good knowledge of or experience working with permitted development and Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects in the planning process, such as independent planning consultants, planning officers from a local planning authority or residents who have dealt with permitted development orders close to or on their property.
“Representatives from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government have been invited to answer questions on the specifics of the policy proposals.”
The group said it was keen to explore the following issues:
- What is a Permitted Development Order?
- How is it currently used in the planning process?
- What are the key issues?
- What could an exploratory drilling proposal look like if included as permitted development?
- What is the limit to proposals under permitted development?
- Would it apply to the well, pad or whole site?
- Would development bypass environmental permits?
- What are the practical issues that arise from the government proposals?
- Would the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project proposals apply to individual fracking wells, pads or major projects, such as the multiple numbers of wells or pads.
- How could shale gas exploration and extraction in the UK develop without the implementation of the government proposals?
- How could public influence in the fracking planning process be assured if the government proposals were adopted?
People who want to submit written or oral evidence for the session should contact the chairman email@example.com by Friday 12 October, quoting APPG ISG in the email subject line.
The meeting is on Monday 22 October from 1pm-3pm at the Houses of Parliament (venue to be decided).
People who wish to attend the meeting should contact the group in advance.
Consultation on permitted development rights
Consultation on Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects
Both consultations close at 11.45pm on 25 October 2018.
I think the October meeting should look in detail at the experience and track record of the operators who claim to know the fracking industry.
Many of the standards are set by the operator but who knows if those standards are safe or fit for purpose?