GWPF: New UK Government Support for Shale Gas Exploration is Welcome but More Speed is Required

  • Date: 17/05/18
  • Global Warming Policy Forum

The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) today welcomed the UK government’s announcement of encouragement for shale gas exploration, but called for immediate and rapid progress rather than prolonged and needless consultation.

The UK government has today announced measures that honour in part its manifesto promise to remove needless obstacles to shale gas exploration [1].

The Government is offering to:

  1. Streamline the planning process for shale gas
  2. Set up a Shale Environmental Regulator, and a Planning Brokerage Service to support the process
  3. Allocate £1.6m to support local authorities handling shale gas planning applications
  4. Consult on whether early stage shale gas exploration should be classed as “permitted development” not requiring planning consent
  5. Consult on the criteria for bringing shale gas development within the scheme for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP)

The GWPF believes that these are all very positive steps, and show that government has listened to common sense advice from many sources, including the GWPF itself [2] to permit prompt examination of this potentially vital energy source.

But the GWPF cautioned that prolonged consultation on allowing early stage exploration to be taken out of the planning system, and on shale’s status as NSIP was needless and introduced the possibility of unhelpful delay.

Dr Benny Peiser, director of GWPF, said: “Government is beginning to do the right things for shale gas in the UK, but it needs to move much faster. There are clear signs throughout Europe and in the UK that the renewables experiment is failing, while domestic gas production is declining rapidly and a nuclear rebuild is just too far off to be relevant. The UK needs cheap and clean energy right now, and shale gas has the clear potential to deliver both these things in short order. The economic and environmental benefits will be substantial as the US shale revolution has shown.”

Notes for Editors

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-measures-to-back-british-shale-gas-exploration

[2] For GWPF’s submission to the previous phase of consultation, see https://www.thegwpf.com/content/uploads/2018/03/Fracking-Planning-Inquiry-Submission.pdf and https://www.thegwpf.com/gwpf-calls-on-government-to-speed-up-uk-shale-development/.

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