County council opposes shale gas drilling changes

Councillors have voted to oppose a government proposal to decide planning approvals for shale gas developments at a national level.

Members of Lincolnshire County Council’s Environment and Economy Scrutiny Panel endorsed a response rejecting the plan.

It comes as ministers have proposed giving permitted development rights for shale gas exploration across the UK.

It is carrying out a consultation with local authorities across the country on the proposal.

The government wants to make the decision making process for the exploration stage of developments quicker.

Exploring for gas means operators would drill a well at a site and test for energy before carrying out further drilling.

The move would mean that developers looking to drill for shale gas would not need to submit a formal planning application to the local authority.

Instead, the development would be approved at a national level to prevent delays.

The government said giving shale gas drilling a permitted development right would make the process simpler and quicker.

Councillor Colin Davie, executive member for economy, called on the authority to oppose the proposal.

“It would be absolutely ridiculous that this kind of development could be dealt with under permitted development rights,” he said.

“I would be keen that we would be strongly against this.”