DRILL OR DROP?

ConsultationGovernment proposals to allow oil and gas companies to drill monitoring boreholes without planning permission will be put before parliament next year.

Ministers want to change what are known as “permitted development rights” for groundwater monitoring boreholes and boreholes for seismic investigation and monitoring.

A statement, released on the same day as the new oil and gas exploration licences last week, confirmed the government would remove the need for consent next year.

The Department of Communities and Local Government said it would set out the detailed wording of the changes in a statutory instrument, also known as an SI or secondary legislation. It said this would be laid before parliament in 2016.

The full House of Commons rarely gets to debate an SI, as seen in the one used last week to allow fracking under national parks and other protected areas. It will, however, be scrutinised by the Joint Committee…

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