In the week that Lancashire County Council is deciding the two planning applications for Shale Gas at Preston New Road and Roseacre in the Fylde our Planning Director, Mary Campbell, attended the Westminster Energy Environment & Transport Forum Keynote Seminar: Shale Gas in the UK. Sessions included an update from Lord Chris Smith on the findings of the Task Force on Shale Gas together with an interesting debate on the planning challenges facing the industry.
Many of the current fears and concerns about hydraulic fracturing stem from environmental issues experienced in the early days of shale gas exploitation in the USA. Lessons have been learned from this experience, notwithstanding the different geological conditions and land use in the UK. Dr Tony Grayling of the Environment Agency spelt out the robust procedures in place through the permitting regime and Jayne Francis-Ward from Nottinghamshire County Council reinforced the importance of a pro-active and inclusive planning system.
It will be interesting to monitor the Government’s response and compare this to the recent changes in planning guidance for on-shore wind turbines.