The Department of Housing Communities and Local Goverment is currently having an inquiry on the planning process as it relates to the unconventional oil and gas industry, and in particular whether the official guidance to planning officers needs to be updated.
It’s pretty dull stuff, to be sure, but there are a few astonishing snippets in the evidence presented. For example, Ken Cronin, from the onshore oil and gas industry body, told the inquiry that
… from the beginning — that is, the scoping of an environmental impact assessment with councils — through to setting planning conditions, the whole process now takes about 18 months. Three or four years earlier, it was taking three to four months…
And Lynn Calder, from INEOS, had similar stories to tell:
We are facing two to three years of planning applications to get a core well approved at the moment.
That’s three years, just to get one of the necessary permissions to drill a hole to extract a core of rock. Not production, not fracking, just extracting a core of rock.