The UK Government passed the Infrastructure Act on the 12th February 2015 with the aim of getting Britain building again.
The main provisions of the Act;
- support the extraction of domestic shale gas through hydraulic fracturing (fracking);
- turn the ‘Highways Agency’ into a government subsidiary with stable long term funding to drive down cost and rename it ‘Highways England’ and;
- a number of minor planning amendments
The decision to support fracking represented the most controversial part of the Bill. Following a debate, the Government chose to support fracking and shale gas exploration, subject to a number of restrictions. These included making it mandatory to;
- carry out environmental impact assessment;
- consider the cumulative impact of fracking within a particular area; and
- individually notify residents in affected areas.
Interestingly, the Infrastructure Act also gives local communities the right to buy up to a 5% stake in renewable energy infrastructure projects with an installed capacity of over 5MW.
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