Ministers clarify new shale gas planning regime
The Government has clarified the planning regime for shale gas applications and outlined the circumstances which could trigger ministerial intervention.
The administration has also set out the criteria for identifying under-performing planning authorities in respect of shale gas exploration and development schemes.
This will be separate from the existing statutory system for identifying under-performing local authorities. It will be similar but non-statutory.
Under these new arrangements a table setting out local planning authority performance on speed of decision making, specifically on onshore oil and gas applications, will be added to DCLG’s quarterly planning application statistical release, starting with the one published this week.
The measure of speed of decision making and the assessment period will be the same as those set out for major development. The same threshold will also apply for the identification of local planning authority underperformance in respect of its oil and gas applications as for the designation of underperformance in respect of major development, currently 50 per cent or fewer applications being made within the statutory determination period or such extended period as has been agreed in writing by the applicant.
Ministers will identify any underperforming local planning authorities in respect of oil and gas applications annually, in the final quarter of each calendar year. Where a local planning authority is identified as underperforming in respect of planning applications for oil and gas, it will remain as such for a period of one year.
In a Parliamentary statement Communities Secretary Greg Clark also confirmed that his call-in powers would be amended to specifically cover onshore oil and gas application appeals.