Planning guidance for fracking inquiry launched

30 January 2018

The Communities and Local Government Committee examines whether guidance for local authorities taking planning decisions on fracking applications needs to be updated or improved.

Shale gas extraction

The inquiry on the planning guidance for hydraulic fracturing or shale gas extraction will also focus on whether there needs to be a comprehensive document bringing all existing guidance together, for all those involved in the planning process.

The Committee will also consider whether applications for fracking should be determined by the national planning regime rather than at a local level.

It's important to be clear about planning process

Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, said:

"The debate over fracking has aroused strong views on both sides but with large reserves of shale gas prevalent across northern England, applications for its extraction are only likely to grow over the next few years.

It's important all parties, from applicants to local authorities, are clear about the planning process so we will be looking at whether the guidance is adequate or whether the Government could do more to bring all the relevant directions together.  

The guidance needs to be as clear and straightforward as possible so those involved in the decision-making process can judge whether any bids for fracking are in the interests of the local community and the country as a whole."

Send a written submission

The Committee is inviting written submissions on the following questions:

  • Is there the need to update and improve the guidance available?
  • Is there the need for a comprehensive document incorporating existing and updated guidance?
  • What is the status – in planning terms – of the extant Government guidance?
  • Should applications for fracking be dealt with as national infrastructure under the 2008 Planning Act?

Send a written submission to the planning guidance on fracking inquiry

The deadline for written evidence is 14 March.

Further background

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) provides overall guidance for planning applications but does not contain detailed guidance on fracking. The Government has pledged to publish draft revisions 'early in 2018'.

Current guidance is contained in multiple documents while the MHCLG's relevant minerals planning guidance has not been updated (with the exception of one paragraph) since March 2014.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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