Government Releases New Planning Guidelines
The government released yesterday details of the new planning guidelines for onshore oil and gas.
Defend Lytham is particularly concerned that the release of this document was delayed until the day after Parliament went into its Summer recess, allowing MPs no opportunity to discuss or comment on its content.
The new guidelines constitute a serious assault on the County Council’s right (in its capacity as the Mineral Planning Authority) to judge shale gas applications properly and in the interests of local residents and businesses.
Effectively these guidelines remove the authorities’ right to make decisions independent of central government policy on energy and on the environment.
Councils will no longer be able to take into account seismic activity, flaring, venting, water resources including aquifers, treatment and disposal of waste including radioactive materials, air emissions, safety and well integrity. Decision-making on these issues must be left to the government agencies, primarily DECC, EA and HSE.
Defend Lytham spokesman John Hobson commented:
“In the absence of any specific regulations for unconventional onshore exploration and production, with the regulatory bodies having little experience and no funding to make them capable of implementing and monitoring regulation, never mind giving detail consideration to planning applications, this is a recipe for disaster.”
For a more detailed analysis of the new guidelines please visit http://www.defendlytham.com/fracking/defend-lytham-response-to-government-fracking-guidelines/