To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what steps his Department is taking to simplify regulations applying to the UK's shale gas industry.
30 June 2014
The Department works closely with the relevant regulators and industry to ensure that the regulatory system is as streamlined as possible, whilst remaining robust enough to safeguard public safety and the environment.
In order to help companies navigate our regulatory system, the Department published in December a Regulatory Roadmap setting out all the regulation that applies to shale at the exploration stage.
We have already reduced unnecessary duplication in the regulatory system for shale gas, clarifying and streamlining the regulation of exploration activity through the Environment Agency, including developing a single application form for permits. The average waiting time for environmental permits for onshore oil and gas is 8 to 9 weeks. We will introduce standard rules environmental permits later this year cutting permitting times for low risk activities to 2-4 weeks.
The Department of Communities and Local Government published planning guidance for onshore oil & gas projects last July, which makes clear that planning authorities when assessing applications should assume that the environmental and health and safety regulatory regimes operate effectively rather than duplicating effort.
We are also consulting on proposals designed to simplify current procedures for obtaining access to underground land. This consultation is open until the 15th August and, subject to the outcome of the consultation, could lead to legislative proposals.