Compulsory community involvement in shale gas planning applications is vital, says County Council
Involving local communities at the earliest opportunity in any proposals for shale gas development should be a compulsory requirement for the industry according to Nottinghamshire County Council.
The decision was unanimously supported at today’s Planning and Licensing Committee (Tuesday 11 December) in response to the Government consultation paper ‘Compulsory community pre-application consultation for shale gas development’.
In response to the consultation, the County Council stated that: “…making early engagement by the shale gas industry compulsory will allow the developer to understand and address locally specific issues and enable a better scheme to come forward when an application is submitted.”
The response reflects the County Council’s belief that planning applications for shale gas development should always be considered locally.
Earlier this year, in a separate Government consultation, the County Council stated that planning applications for shale gas exploration – the first stage of any future shale gas development – should be determined at a local level by local Councillors with full public scrutiny and debate.
Councillor Chris Barnfather, Chairman of the County Council’s Planning and Licensing Committee said: “Local scrutiny and decision making is essential to make sure that significant proposals such as shale gas development are properly considered by people with the knowledge and understanding of the local area.
"I am delighted that councillors unanimously supported our response to the Government’s latest consultation on shale gas development by agreeing that the shale gas industry should always involve local communities in any proposals at the very first stage of their plans.
"This approach enables the community to understand the issues involved and to have proper and effective input into any future planning application for shale gas development.
"We remain firm in our belief that shale gas planning applications should always be decided locally as we expressed to Government earlier this year. Local decision making and local community involvement is essential for all planning applications involving shale gas development.”
The Government consultation on compulsory community involvement for shale gas development will close early in the new year.