United Kingdom govt launches fracking fund and planning service to help councils, developers

  • United Kingdom govt launches fracking fund and planning service to help councils, developers

United Kingdom govt launches fracking fund and planning service to help councils, developers

"As a result, the United Kingdom is becoming ever more dependent on Russian and Middle Eastern gas, with British money funding foreign powers at the rate of £500m a month instead of generating jobs and tax revenues in this country", she said.

Shale gas companies will be allowed to drill without planning permission under government plans to accelerate the development of a fracking industry in the UK.

Recent decisions on shale exploration planning applications have remained "disappointingly slow", said Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), in a written statement to parliament in conjunction with his colleagues in the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government that outlined a range of measures "to facilitate timely decisions" on fracking for shale gas.

However, development so far has proven to be a slow process, owing to local opposition and high population density.

Friends of the Earth spokeswoman Rose Dickinson said: 'The Government's plans pervert the planning process and could make England's landscape a Wild West for whatever cowboy wants to start drilling and digging up our countryside.

"This statement should be considered in planning decisions and plan-making in England", Clark said.

Ministers were today accused of making fracking "as easy as building a conservatory" after they put forward plans to ban the need to get planning permission for the controversial gas drilling. Imports are on pace to account for 72 percent of British gas by 2030, compared with 53 percent past year. This will include setting up a Shale Environmental Regulator and new Planning Brokerage Service which would focus exclusively on the planning process and will have no role in the consideration or determination of planning applications.

Industry welcomed the government's move.

"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".

She said shale gas had the potential to lower energy prices, although opponents of the technology say there is no evidence this will happen in the UK.

Lib Dem spokeswoman Baroness Featherstone said: 'It is desperately disappointing that the Government have announced today that they will be altering planning law to make it easier for the frackers'.

"But labyrinthine planning rules make it next-to-impossible to access the energy right beneath our feet", Commercial Director at Ineos Shale Lynn Calder said. "These timelines must improve if the country is to benefit from its own, much needed, indigenous source of gas", Egan said.

"The announcement is a step in the right direction and there is much more that needs to be done".

Mr Clark said there is an opportunity to create a "UK Model" for the "world's most environmentally robust onshore shale gas sector" as well as explore export opportunities by working with industry.

With all the inherent risks of fracking anyone would think that the government would at least want the process done properly and fairly, rather than wrestling what modest power local people have to object away from them.