In the week that has seen 2 consultations on fracking by permitted development and NSIP plus the Government also a consultion on FITs for renewables AND then on the day that brought the news of the new shale gas commissioner job being advertised and the day when Cuadrilla received permission to frack at PNR the government slipped one more thing out today. The NPPF was published incorporating the ministerial statement.
Text relating to Oil and Gas in the statement
Oil, gas and coal exploration and extraction
209. Minerals planning authorities should:
a) recognise the benefits of on-shore oil and gas development, including unconventional hydrocarbons, for the security of energy supplies and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy; and put in place policies to facilitate their exploration and extraction;
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;
c) encourage underground gas and carbon storage and associated infrastructure if local geological circumstances indicate its feasibility;
d) indicate any areas where coal extraction and the disposal of colliery spoil may be acceptable;
e) encourage the capture and use of methane from coal mines in active and abandoned coalfield areas; and
f) provide for coal producers to extract separately, and if necessary stockpile, fireclay so that it remains available for use.
210 When determining planning applications, minerals planning authorities should ensure that the integrity and safety of underground storage facilities are appropriate, taking into account the maintenance of gas pressure, prevention of leakage of gas and the avoidance of pollution.
211. Planning permission should not be granted for the extraction of coal unless:
a) the proposal is environmentally acceptable, or can be made so by planning conditions or obligations;
or b) if it is not environmentally acceptable, then it provides national, local or community benefits which clearly outweigh its likely impacts (taking all relevant matters into account, including any residual environmental impacts).
Make of it what you will!