Large-scale shale gas reserves have recently been identified under many parts of the UK and development pressure for detailed exploration and possibly the exploitation of these reserves by hydraulic fracturing, popularly described as fracking is growing rapidly and seems to have UK Government support. With this in mind the purpose of this paper is to offer a general review of the possible development of shale gas reserves by fracking within the UK and to explore a number of the planning and property issues associated with such development.
The briefing note begins with an outline of the characteristics of shale oil and the fracking process and of the initial developments within the UK and discusses some of the planning and property issues associated with such developments. The note is based upon information drawn from the internet sources, principally national and local governments, business organisations and environmental and community pressure groups and on visits to a small number of sites of exploratory fracking.
The note reveals that planning applications for exploratory and production fracking will be determined at local authority level rather as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects determined by the Secretary of State. In determining planning applications local authorities have received planning guidance from the UK Government and will need to consider a wide range of environmental factors but some critics suggest that the guidance is not comprehensive and that it is weighted in favour of granting permission. A number of property issues are also identified possible effects of fracking on property prices, the availability of mortgages and the insurance of properties.
This paper provides an accessible review of the development of shale gas resources by fracking within the UK and as such it will be of value to planners, developers, land and property professionals and students.
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