UK to expedite planning process for shale gas developments

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has announced new measures to fast track shale gas planning applications in the UK.

The federal authority will also allow local people to have a 'strong say' for shale exploration in respective areas, and will expedite new site developments.

UK secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Greg Clark is likely to take over planning decisions from local councils that repeatedly fail to reach a conclusion for the oil and gas applications within the statutory timeframe of 16 weeks.

"By fast tracking any appropriate applications today's changes will tackle potential hold ups in the system."

As the new measures, UK government will identify councils which fail to determine oil and gas applications repeatedly within the 16 weeks.

DECC secretary Amber Rudd said: "We need more secure, home grown energy supplies - and shale gas must play a part in that.

"To ensure we get this industry up and running we can't have a planning system that sees applications dragged out for months, or even years on end.

"Oversight by the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency of shale developments makes our commitment to safety and the environment crystal clear.

"We now need, above all else, a system that delivers timely planning decisions and works effectively for local people and developers."

Greg Clark said: "People's safety and the environment will remain paramount and communities will always be involved in planning applications but no one benefits from uncertainty caused by delays in planning decisions.

"By fast tracking any appropriate applications today's changes will tackle potential hold ups in the system."

The initiative upholds UK's stance for clear shale developments and recognition of the energy resource as a national priority, which can help the country to move towards a low-carbon economy.

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