Legislation, Permitting, Planning consent

“Dear Aunty, does ‘streamlining’ fracking regulation mean it will be watered down?”

Good gosh, no cherubs, not at all.

In fact, it’s a mistake to suggest the regulations themselves will be streamlined at all when, really my dears, it’s simply some of the processes of regulation that could be improved by streamlining.

Let me give you an example:

Imagine you’ve bought some land to build a new home on. You have an architect design a wonderful detached house, with a separate garage and a summer house (this is a big piece of land in Balcombe, though it could just as easily be in Lytham my dears). A structural engineer has translated the architects drawings into something that can actually be built. You’ve obtained the money needed and so all you need now is planning permission.

Now, my little pumpkins, imagine if you needed three separate planning consents (one each for the house, the garage and the summer house) despite them being part of the same project – with each requiring a separate application and public consultation. Does that sound sensible to you?

Or, my dears, would it be more sensible to consider the scheme as a whole, with a single planning application and consultation?

Of course, it’s the latter.

Where gas exploration is concerned, a single planning consent for the temporary surface site, vertical (and, where relevant, horizontal) well bores is surely just as sensible my dears.

And it’s really just changes to the administration and needless bureaucracy in the regulations like this that are being suggested – not a watering down of scope and applicability sweeties.

It’s the same with the environmental permits that are required – surely it’s sensible, my lovelies, to have a process that means multiple permits can be applied for as part of a single application, with just one set of forms? It would make it easier for interested members of the public to consult on those applications, for a start dears, because all the necessary information would be in one place.

And yes, cherubs, there’s talk of introducing ‘standard permits’ but this is already established practice in the world of environmental permitting and so there’s really no reason not to extend this to drilling for gas.

So it’s not really about streamlining the regulations, just making the administrative processes better for everyone.

It is sometimes necessary to test the current regulations, just to make certain which bits apply and how (I’m afraid this isn’t always clear because of the way they’re drafted) which can appear, to the outsider, as an attempt at avoiding regulation.

But really, nobody is requesting or suggesting that the rules designed to protect us all are watered down my darlings – that would be quite wrong.

Until next time xxx

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One thought on ““Dear Aunty, does ‘streamlining’ fracking regulation mean it will be watered down?”

  1. Pingback: “Dear Aunty, should we be concerned about the House of Lord’s call for streamlined fracking regulation?” | Aunty Frackers blog

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