The Government are creating the right framework to accelerate shale gas development in a responsible way, ensuring regulation is robust as well as streamlined and that communities share in the benefits which are created. Cuadrilla announced its updated exploration programme in Lancashire last week.
The British Geological Survey study of shale gas resources in Lancashire has doubled previous estimates of reserves and extended the potential drilling area right across to the east of the county. Although shale gas exploration and extraction has huge potential benefits to the UK economy, the people who live above need to see a real community benefit. Will my right hon. Friend update the House on his plans to ensure that that happens?
We are accelerating the search for shale, streamlining and simplifying the technical guidance for exploration permits, publishing clearer planning rules and consulting next week on fiscal incentives to encourage exploration and production. Later this year the developers charter will commit developers to earlier engagement with local communities and ensure that local areas that host shale benefit financially, directly and significantly.