Shale gas development

As the local Minerals Planning Authority, Nottinghamshire County Council is responsible for deciding planning applications that involve shale gas extraction, using hydraulic fracturing, more widely known as ‘fracking’. 

This section provides an overview of the planning process and information about shale gas exploration. 

The information is relevant for any shale gas application in Nottinghamshire. 

 

National and local planning frameworks 

 

With the future of the UK’s energy supplies becoming increasingly important as existing offshore reserves decline, the National Planning Policy Framework expects Minerals Planning Authorities to provide for the extraction of mineral reserves of national importance. 

All decisions about the extraction of minerals are considered against national and local planning guidelines. 

National guidelines are set out in the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework and the Planning Practice Guidance. 

Paragraph 209 of the NPPF states that; “Minerals planning authorities should: b) when planning for on-shore oil and gas development, clearly distinguish between, and plan positively for, the three phases of development (exploration, appraisal and production), whilst ensuring appropriate monitoring and site restoration is provided for”. 

 

Government’s current position on shale gas 

 

On November 4th, 2019 the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy issued an energy policy update which stated that “On the basis of the current scientific evidence, Government is confirming today that it will take a presumption against issuing any further Hydraulic Fracturing Consents. This position, an effective moratorium, will be maintained until compelling new evidence is provided which addresses the concerns around the prediction and management of induced seismicity”. 

Additionally, the Secretary for State confirmed that the Government will not be taking forward proposed planning reforms in relation to shale gas that were subject to consultation last year. These include the proposals on the principles of a permitted development right for non-hydraulic exploratory shale gas development; making community pre-application consultation compulsory for shale gas development; and proposals to bring shale production development into the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) regime.  

To read the Written Ministerial statement in full please see; https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2019-11-04/HCWS68/  

 

Minerals Local Plan 

 

NPPF policies and national guidance are interpreted locally in the ‘adopted’ Minerals Local Plan, prepared by the County Council, as the local Minerals Planning Authority. The ‘adopted’ Minerals Local Plan is now out of date and a new Minerals Local Plan is currently being prepared covering the period up to 2036.

The new Minerals Local Plan includes a policy on oil and gas, including unconventional hydrocarbons such as shale gas. 

 

Policy MP12: Oil and Gas, states

1. Exploration and appraisal of oil and gas will be supported, provided the site and equipment: 

 

a. Are not located in a protected area other than in exceptional
circumstances where this does not compromise the reasons for the designation and the need for development can be demonstrated; and 

b. Are located where this will not have an unacceptable environmental
impact. 

2. The commercial production of oil and gas will be supported, provided the site and equipment: 

a. Are not located in a protected area other than in exceptional
circumstances where this does not compromise the reasons for the designation and the need for development can be demonstrated; and 

b. Are located at the least sensitive location taking account of
environmental, geological and technical factors. 

3. Proposals at each stage must provide for the restoration and subsequent aftercare of the site, whether or not oil or gas is found.

Useful information

Contact us by emailing development.management@nottscc.gov.uk.

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