Government warns councils on shale gas
Planning applications for shale gas developments could be decided by the communities secretary if local authorities fail to determine applications within the 16-week timeframe, the government said today.
The announcement came from the communities department (Dclg) and the energy and climate change department (Decc).
The departments said they would identify councils that repeatedly failed to decide oil and gas applications within the statutory 16-week deadline unless the developer had agreed an extension.
The secretary of state would take over decisions on further applications to that council and appeals to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS). The inspectorate should prioritise appeals involving shale applications, the departments added.
The move was trailed in an article by energy secretary Amber Rudd in last weekend’s Sunday Times. She wrote that gas still had a huge role to play in the UK’s energy system because moving too quickly to zero-carbon energy risked driving up consumer bills.
Britain had one of the best regulatory systems in the world to protect people and the environment, she added. However, the planning system needed to deliver timely decisions and work ...