Permitted Development and Shale Gas Exploration

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:49 pm on 28th March 2019.

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Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 4:49 pm, 28th March 2019

I will come to those exact issues, if the esteemed Chair of the Select Committee will give me a moment.

On the potential changes to permitted development rights, in summer 2018, we consulted on proposals about whether permitted development rights should be expanded to include shale gas exploration development, including the circumstances in which this might be appropriate. I would like to make it clear that any potential permitted development right granted for shale gas exploration would not apply to hydraulic-fracturing operations or the production stage of shale gas extraction.

I should also emphasise that any permitted development right would only cover the planning aspects of the development and would not remove requirements under other regulatory regimes from the three regulators: the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive and the Oil and Gas Authority. It is important to note that all permitted development rights contain specific exemptions, conditions and restrictions to control and mitigate the impact of the development and to protect local amenity, and any potential permitted development right for shale gas exploration would be no exception.

A right could include things such as limits on the height of any structure, areas where a permitted development right would not apply and noise and operation controls. The consultation sought views on this.