Andrew Smith – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Communities and Local Government

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Andrew Smith on 2016-02-03.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will ensure that decisions on planning applications for fracking are taken within the local government planning process.

James Wharton

The Government has in place a local government led process for the consideration of planning applications for shale gas exploration. As part of this, mineral planning authorities have a responsibility to consider such applicationsunder the Town and Country Planning regime. The Government has taken steps to ensure this locally led regime is effective, as set out in Written Ministerial Statements made on 16 September, HCWS201 and HCWS202. This includes making available £1.2 million to ensure mineral planning authorities have adequate resource to reach timely decisions.

Community involvement in planning applications and people’s safety and the environment will remain paramount. No decision has been made to take shale gas exploration out of this local government led process and there are no plans currently to consult on such a change.