Ministers are planning to change UK trespass laws to allow energy companies to install shale gas pipes under private land, in a move to be announced in the Queen’s Speech on 3rd June. Companies will still require planning permission to drill for shale gas, but will gain greater freedom to run pipes used to transport gas under private land. The proposed Infrastructure Bill will also mean that affected landowners will be entitled to claim for compensation. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman confirmed that the government was looking at ways of making test drilling easier and to ensure there was not “an overburden of red tape and regulation ... fracking is something that is very new, certainly in this country, which is why we are looking to see whether there are particular obstacles to the test drilling.”
The public consultation has began and ends on 14th August 2014
This is a Government consultation on proposals to reform the procedure for gaining underground access to oil or gas deposits and geothermal energy.
The consultation examines the existing procedures by which companies who wish to extract oil, gas or geothermal energy obtain access to underground land, and the problems raised by these procedures. The consultation sets out the policy position in relation to underground access rights for shale and geothermal operations. The policy contains three elements: Access rights, Payments for access, and Notification of access.
photo Abandoned Britain:
Oil and gas production and extraction
The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) is responsible for:
- issuing licences for oil and gas exploration onshore and on the UK Continental Shelf (area of water around the UK that we claim mineral rights to)
- regulating field development and oil and gas pipeline activities
- regulating the environmental aspects of the offshore oil and gas industry, including decommissioning
- giving companies access to oil and gas exploration and production data
The department has set up the Office for Unconventional Gas and Oil to promote the safe, responsible, and environmentally sound recovery of the UK’s unconventional reserves of gas and oil, including shale gas and oil
DECC sponsors the Coal Authority, which is responsible for:
- issuing licences for coal exploration and extraction and carrying out appropriate inspections of deep mines and opencast sites
- managing the effects of historic mining such as mine water (contaminated water from coal mines) and subsidence damage, and running an emergency call-out service for public safety incidents
- providing access to mining information to property buyers in coalfield areas
DECC is responsible for developing and implementing policy to make sure nuclear sites in the UK are safe and secure and risks in transporting nuclear materials minimised. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) regulates civil nuclear sites in line with our policies. The Environment Agency is the environmental regulator of the nuclear industry in England and Natural Resources Wales is the environmental regulator in Wales.
We are responsible for:
- establishing nuclear policy and the regulatory framework
- acting on advice from the UK’s environment agencies about environmental regulation for the UK nuclear industry
- representing the UK at international forums that set standards for nuclear safety
Find out more about our responsibilities regarding civil nuclear sites.
Gas and electricity
DECC is responsible for:
- setting the framework for the regulation and licensing of wholesale gas market participants
- appointing members of the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority, which sets the strategy for the Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem)
- reviewing Ofgem proposals to modify licences
- deciding on electricity licence exemptions
- dealing with liberalisation of the EU energy market
Planning and consents for national energy infrastructure
Under the Planning Act 2008, the Planning Inspectorate considers all applications to develop nationally significant energy infrastructure projects in England and Wales. The inspectorate then makes recommendations to ministers at DECC, who make the final decision on the applications.
Find out more about the planning and consents process for national energy infrastructure.