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Parliamentary committee launches fracking guidance inquiry

Words: Laura Edgar
Fracking / iStock

The Communities and Local Government Committee (CLG) has announced that it will examine whether local authority guidance on fracking applications needs to be updated or improved.

The examination will consider whether or not there needs to be a “comprehensive document” that brings all existing guidance together for all those involved in the planning process.

The committee said it will also look at whether fracking applications should be determined by the national planning regime or at the local level.

Clive Betts MP, chair of the CLG 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."

The committee’s questions are:

  • 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?

A written submission can be submitted on the CLG Committee website. The deadline for submissions is 14 March.

Image credit | iStock