Lancashire County Council is currently consulting on a proposed Supplementary Planning Document for Oil and Gas exploration including shale. The stated purpose of the document is to assist in interpreting the policy requirements of the development plan within the context of onshore oil and gas exploration, production and distribution. It should be read in conjunction with the Minerals and Waste Local Plan (particularly policy DM2), the district Local Plan, the National Planning Policy Framework and the National Planning Practice Guidance.
The document identifies the main activities in onshore oil and gas development as being exploration, appraisal, and production. However it recognises that developments targeting unconventional oil and gas reservoirs will likely include a need to stimulate the flow of hydrocarbons at each of these phases, through for example hydraulic fracturing and dewatering. As a result some of these developments may not have the same discrete phases; exploration and appraisal may take place as a single process using the same wells. The SPD provides advice for proposals for each of the phases identified and the principal issues for the Industry in Lancashire.
Consultation responses are required to be submitted by 2 March 2015. Click here for further details.
Stephenson Halliday would be happy to assist prospective promoters of proposals for the extraction of hydrocarbons (including shale gas) to take advantage of the opportunity presented by the SPD preparation phase. Engaging with this process to influence the direction of future planning policies enhances the prospects of securing planning permission at a later date.