Shale: Govt aims to reform planning rules as Cuadrilla forced to withdraw drilling application
Government plans to end people’s right to be notified about plans to drill for gas and oil beneath their homes and land, have been slammed today (3 September 2013) by Friends of the Earth.
The Department for Communities and Local Government launched a consultation yesterday (Monday 2 September 2013) to change the law for onshore oil and gas planning applications, including removing the duty to notify people under whose land developers propose to drill.
Earlier today (Tuesday 3 September) fracking firm Cuadrilla announced it had withdrawn a planning application to extend its shale oil exploration near Balcombe for another six months, because of its failure to set out the full extent of its horizontal drilling plans. The move follows a number of objections to the application by Friends of the Earth and residents – including concerns about horizontal drilling. Cuadrilla says it plans to submit a new application later this month.
Earlier this year Cuadrilla was forced to obtain mining waste and radioactive substances permits before carrying out test drilling at Balcombe, following legal concerns raised by Friends of the Earth with the Environment Agency.
Friends of the Earth’s Head of Campaigns Andrew Pendleton said:
“It’s astonishing that Ministers want to end people’s right to be notified about plans to drill for gas and oil under their homes.
“It’s little wonder communities don’t trust the Government over fracking when their rights are so clearly being bulldozed aside to smooth the path for the big fracking firms.”
Commenting on Cuadrilla’s application to withdraw its application to extend exploratory drilling for a further six months, Friends of the Earth’s Head of Campaigns Andrew Pendleton said:
“This is not the first time Cuadrilla has submitted inadequate planning applications, as Friends of the Earth has previously pointed out.
“We’re delighted this flawed application has been withdrawn and that people will be properly notified of the extent of the planned drilling.
“But the majority of Balcombe residents won’t be happy until Cuadrilla abandons its plans altogether.”
Notes to Editors:
1. Paragraph 11, DCLG: Revised requirements relating to planning applications for onshore oil and gas: “The Government is minded to amend the notice requirements for applications for planning permission for underground oil and gas operations. It would retain the requirement to serve notice on individual owners and tenants of land on the above ground area where works are required (who the applicant knows to be such a person and whose name and address is known to the applicant) but remove this requirement for owners of land beyond this area ie the owners of land where solely underground operations may take place.”
2. Type “Balcombe” in to the parish box, to see the withdrawn application.
3. Shale: Cuadrilla must apply for waste permits before Sussex test drilling, Friends of the Earth press release, June 2013.
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