The Government has launched a consultation on community involvement in shale gas proposals in an effort to ‘open a meaningful dialogue’.
The consultation will seek views on whether to require shale gas developers to publish relevant information, consult with stakeholders and listen to residents before submitting a planning application.
Early engagement with communities would give local people an earlier say on proposals, a Whitehall statement says, while making developers aware of issues of importance to the community that may need to be resolved through working with the relevant local authority.
Shale gas exploration — or ‘fracking’ — is a controversial means of extracting fossil fuels because of the risk of drinking water contamination, earthquakes and other concerns.
Derbyshire County Council recently rejected an application for planning permission by the oil and chemical firm INEOS who wished to drill near the village of Marsh Lane.
However, a Government-appointed planning inspector concluded there would only be ‘slight harm’, but not enough to ‘outweigh the benefits of the exploration.’