Last year the UK Government announced a package of measures to speed up fracking applications in England. These included identifying councils that do not determine oil and gas applications within the 16-week statutory timeframe, and subsequent applications potentially decided by the UK Communities Secretary.
The Welsh Government Minister for Natural Resources (Carl Sargeant AM) wrote to Welsh councils and other planning bodies to assure them these measures were applicable to English councils only, and reiterating the Welsh Government’s preference for renewable forms of generation over oil and gas exploration. The Minister said,
“We continue to believe that the technologies behind hydraulic fracturing are unproven, and therefore we have maintained our precautionary policy framework in respect of proposals involving “fracking”; that is why we imposed a moratorium. Our vision for future energy generation in based on embracing Wales’ abundant renewable energy resources, which provide exciting and immediate opportunities.
The Welsh Government is determined to show leadership in addressing the causes of climate change. Despite recent announcements in England, we still see renewable energy as a key element in ensuring that Wales achieves sustainable development for the benefit of future generations.
Measures announced by DECC, and the UK Government’s general support for oil and gas applications is contrary to the approach of the Welsh Government of promoting renewable and low carbon forms of energy through the planning system and other measures. We still see renewable energy as a key element in ensuring that Wales achieves sustainable development for the benefit of future generations.”