Walker Morris

Shale gas and local authorities: thoughts on fracking

The threat of blackouts and proposed price hikes in energy costs serves as a reminder to business and the public at large that the UK’s energy policy continues its rise up the barometer of economic and political importance.

As all tiers of government wrestle with the national objectives of secure and affordable energy, as well as CO2 reduction through support for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, it is the community leadership role of local authorities that is likely to come increasingly under the spotlight. This will also extend to local authorities’ role in relation to their regulatory obligations associated with the granting of planning permission. Also to energy projects that sit well outside the renewable umbrella, such as shale gas extraction and the development of the next generation of gas-fired power stations.

Supported by a shift in government policy towards ensuring that local communities affected by energy projects receive clear benefits from their delivery, beyond anything contemplated by the Community Infrastructure Levy or Planning Obligation, the spotlight is also on investors and developers of such projects to respond to local appetite for ‘compensation’ which could go well beyond the indicative tariffs being discussed…

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