Environmental controls, Legislation, Permitting, Planning consent, Pollution prevention & control

“Dear Aunty, should we be concerned about the House of Lord’s call for streamlined fracking regulation?”

Well, dears, as I’ve explained before (in September 2013) there’s really no need to fear the sort of streamlining that’s being suggested.

Before you read the rest of this particular post, sweeties, why don’t you have a quick look at my earlier thoughts here?

Now, with that in mind, let’s think about regulatory streamlining in the context of another type of energy development, like onshore wind.

Imagine if the developers of onshore wind farms had to submit separate planning applications for every single turbine they planned to install, rather than a single application covering the entire development.

Or, taking it to an extreme my lovelies, a separate planning application for the construction of each turbine foundation, then another for the erection of each turbine tower and a third for each set of turbine blades.

And all with separate Environmental Impact Assessments and 12 or 16 week public consultation exercises.

All repeated over and over for a development of 40 wind turbines.

It just wouldn’t be at all sensible, would it cherubs? It would hold up those developments and mire them in so much red-tape that not a single wind turbine would be built. And the public that might be affected by such developments would surely (and quickly) lose track of matters.

Then picture the outcry that we’d experience from groups like Friends of the Earth and others if this was the case.

When the House of Lords economic affairs committee called for the regulatory framework for fracking to be streamlined, dears, I imagine it was a move to a model like that applied to onshore wind that was envisaged, with a reduction in the number of consents that need to be applied for, and the way in which the process is conducted.

Absolutely nobody in this nascent industry, or the regulators, or government, wants the rules watered down or protections eroded – because everybody accepts that a well regulated fracking industry will garner public acceptance.

So, no, we don’t need to fear streamlining. It could even mean that operators have their applications for some locations processed, decided on and rejected much more speedily too. Keep that in mind when you argue against streamlining the regulatory framework.

Until next time xxx

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