The Energy & Utilities Alliance has welcomed the government consultation into land access issues for shale exploration.

The consultation on proposals to simplify the existing procedure for shale gas and deep geothermal underground drilling access will be open for 12 weeks, after which government will announce the next steps.

The new proposals would simplify procedures which are costly time-consuming and disproportionate for new methods of underground drilling. Oil, gas and deep geothermal companies will be able to explore their potential, and will in return provide a voluntary community payment for access.

The proposals include:

Mike Foster, chief executive of EUA said: “Shale gas is a resource that this country cannot afford to ignore, it will help provide security of supply, create additional jobs right throughout the supply chain and provide a further steam of income thanks to the new tax revenues generated. We do need to move forward with shale.”

“People need to understand exactly what is involved in hydraulic fracking and what impact it would have on them, if any. The current proposals are that companies are granted access to land 300m below ground and that they pay those living above compensation.”

Business Energy Minister Michael Fallon said: “We are keen for shale and geothermal exploration to go ahead while protecting residents through the robust regulation that is in place.”

“These proposals allow shale and geothermal development while offering a fair deal for communities in return for underground access at depths so deep they will have no negative impact on landowners.”

A company looking to develop shale or geothermal will still need to obtain all the necessary permissions. There are controls in place to regulate seismicity, environmental impacts and planning impacts and there are numerous opportunities for local communities to engage ahead of any development.

Picture courtesy of DECC