To date there have been no applications for oil or gas
extractions in the Borough of Gosport.
The Government have just published this document:-
Which will answer your questions. I have extracted some
statements below which I thought that you might find helpful.
Public consultation is part of every oil and gas application
for planning permission, which is required for each stage of exploration,
appraisal and production. For shale development, the industry’s own charter
sets out that communities must be engaged from the very start of the planning
application process. The Office for Unconventional Gas and Oil has made it a
priority to help people understand the facts about shale gas, including
supporting local authorities’ engagement with their communities to help resolve
The process of obtaining consent to drill a well is the same
whether the well is targeted at conventional or unconventional gas. Department
of Energy & Climate Change (DECC)
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-energy-climate-change issues a licence in competitive offerings
(licence rounds) which grant exclusivity to operators in the licence area. The
licences however do not give consent for drilling or any other operations.
When an operator wishes to drill an exploration well, their
first step is to negotiate access with landowners for the drilling pad area and
the surface under which any drilling extends. Permission must also be obtained
from the Coal Authority if the well encroaches on coal seams. Then the operator
needs to seek planning permission from the Minerals Planning Authority (MPA)
(Hampshire County Council (HCC)) (In Scotland the local planning authority).
The operator must obtain the appropriate environmental authorisation/permit
from the Environment Agency (EA) in England, Natural Resources Wales (NRW), or
the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) in Scotland, who are also
statutory consultees to the MPA or Scottish planning system.
The MPA (HCC) (or local planning authority in Scotland) will
determine if an environmental impact assessment (EIA) is required, such
assessments are required if the scale of the operations meets certain
thresholds, or if, depending on their nature, scale and location, they may have
significant environmental impacts. If an EIA is required, it must be completed
by the applicant and submitted to the MPA/planning authority before the
MPA/planning authority decides on planning permission.
An environmental permit/authorisation from the appropriate
environmental regulator may also be required. At least 21 days before drilling
is planned, the HSE must be notified of the well design and operation plans to
ensure that major accident hazard risks to people from well and well related
activities are properly controlled, subject to the same stringent regulation as
any industrial activity. HSE regulations also require examination of the well
design and construction by an independent and competent person. Notification of
an intention to drill has to be served on the Environment Agency under S199 of
the Water Resources Act, 1991.
DECC will check that the EA/SEPA/NRW and HSE have no
objections before consenting drilling operations. If hydraulic fracturing is
intended, DECC will require that a fracturing plan to address the risk of
induced seismicity is submitted, and will review this plan before these
operations are permitted.
If the operator wished to drill an appraisal well or propose
to start production operations, they start again with the process described
above; the landowner’s permissions and planning consent (Public consultation is
part of every oil and gas application for planning permission), which may also
require an EIA; EA, NRW or SEPA consultation and HSE notification, and finally
a decision from DECC.
Sorry there are lots of abbreviations but the full title is
in the earlier paragraphs.
The UK is entering a period where, as a
consequence of the Climate Act, oil and coal and power stations are closing.
Nuclear power stations are also closing though age. A looming gap is
therefore developing in the UK between energy supply and demand. For example
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers only last week estimated that the gap
could reach 55% by the mid 2020s if new generating plant is not rapidly build
and put into service. Many £billions will be required to close the potential
energy gap that is developing.
Much of this new replacement energy must be
reliable and continuous. It cannot be achieved by renewables such as wind farms
and solar. Shale gas fracking or large increases in highly expensive energy
imports (if available) offer the only solution. If the lights are not to go out
and industry not be priced out of the market (Electricity in the UK is already
the most expensive in the Western world – this in part already causing closure
of much of the UK’s steel industry).
Renewables are not enough. If all agricultural
land in southern England were to be covered in solar panels or wind farms their
energy output would equate only to that of just one single conventional power
Below, I have reproduced some of the Government
safety measures that will ensure fracking operations in the UK will be safely
carried out. Full details are available at:
Shale Gas Fracking
The government believes that shale gas has the
potential to provide the UK with greater energy security, growth and jobs. It
is encouraging safe and environmentally
sound exploration to determine this potential.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a technique
used in the extraction of gas from shale rock and has been extensively used
over the last 60 years – it is estimated that more than 2.5 million
wells have been successfully ‘fracked’ worldwide.
The UK has a strong regulatory regime for
exploratory activities, and over 50 years of experience of regulating the
onshore oil and gas industry nationally. They are bringing that experience to
bear and measures are in place to ensure on-site safety, prevent environmental
contamination, mitigate seismic activity and minimise emissions. In 2012, the
Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Society reviewed the scientific and
engineering evidence on shale gas.
The review concluded that “the health, safety
and environmental risks associated with hydraulic fracturing (often termed
‘fracking’) as a means to extract shale gas can be managed effectively in the
In September 2013 Professor David MacKay (then
DECC’s Chief Scientist) and Dr Timothy Stone wrote a report on potential
greenhouse gas emissions from UK produced shale gas. They concluded that the
overall effect of UK shale gas production on national emissions is likely, with
the right safeguards, to be relatively small. Indeed emissions from the
production and transport of UK shale gas would likely be lower than from the
imported Liquefied Natural Gas that it could replace.
Public Health England assessed the risk to
human health of extracting shale gas in an October 2013 report. They evaluated
available evidence on issues including air quality, radon gas, naturally
occurring radioactive materials, water contamination and waste water. They
concluded that “the risks to public health from exposure to emissions from
shale gas extraction are low.
It was announced in Parliament recently that
the country’s national parks will be protected from fracking.
Why do we need gas?
A third of UK energy demand is met by gas. In
2012, around a quarter of the gas used in the UK was used to produce
electricity, a fifth by industry, and around 40% to cook our food and heat our
As we use less coal in the next 10 to 15 years
for electricity generation, gas will help fill the gap alongside renewable and
nuclear electricity, helping the UK reduce carbon emissions. We forecast that
in 2030, the UK’s gas consumption will be a round the same level as it is
today. We will continue to need gas for many years. In 2003, we were a net
exporter of gas. But North Sea production is declining and now we are a net
importer. By 2025 we expect to be importing close to 70% of the gas we consume,
assuming we do not develop shale.
The UK has invested in facilities to make sure
gas is easy to import. There have been no major interruptions to gas supplies
in recent history, but we cannot be complacent. To secure our energy supply we
must maximise UK production of fuels we need, including gas, increase
generation from renewables and new nuclear and then use our energy more wisely.
Shale development could also support the economy. The Institute of Directors
estimated that UK shale gas production would be a net benefit to public
finances, could attract annual investment of £3.7 billion and support up to
74,000 jobs directly, indirectly and through broader economic stimulus.
currently around 176 licences for onshore oil and gas in the UK. These are
formally referred to as Petroleum Exploration Development Licences. DECC plans
to conduct a new round of onshore licensing (the 14th) in 2014, and is
conducting the necessary Strategic Environmental Assessment.
themselves do not give consent for drilling, hydraulic fracturing or any other
operations. Operators then need:
permission, which may require an environmental impact assessment
from Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, or the Scottish Environment
are examined by the Health and Safety Executive, and an independent competent
person reviews the well design
drilling or production from the Department of Energy and Climate Change
To conclude, I believe that providing sufficient energy to keep
our homes warm, the lights on, transport moving, industry and commerce working
and the economy buoyant cannot be prejudiced by nimbyism. Fracking is a national
issue and as such is a matter that has to be determined by our democratically
elected Government. The issue is far too important to do anything else. Too
much time has already been lost through indecision caused by the antics of the few. I am confident that
Fracking will also prove to be be a safe industry.