This page will help you respond to the government consultation on whether to include shale gas production projects in the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) regime under the Planning Act 2008. If designated as NSIP, fracking proposals would go through a national planning process that would reduce local jurisdiction, and the final decision would be taken by the Secretary of State and the Planning Inspectorate, not locally elected councils. If you would like a bit more background, please check out our quick guide to PD and NSIP.
The following information is also available as a downloadable PDF document by clicking on the link below:
Here is the home page for this consultation. We also recommend that before beginning your response, you take a few minutes to read the government guidelines to this consultation, which provides background on the proposal (from the government’s point of view …).
How to respond to the consultation
The government is keen for everyone to respond to the consultation online, which you can do by clicking here or by cutting and pasting this link into your browser:
Alternatively, you can send your response to the following email address. There isn’t a downloadable form this time (as there is with the Permitted Development consultation) so you can write your own response, as long as you answer the questions in the online form. The government advice here is that “Your response will be most useful if it is framed in direct response to the questions posed, though further comments and evidence are also welcome.”
You can email your response as an attachment to this email address:
Or post it to the following address:
Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Team
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
Orchard 2, 3rd floor
1 Victoria Street
The deadline for this consultation is 11.45 pm on Thursday 25th October 2018.
Guidelines on what to say in the consultation
Firstly, don’t forget to complete your answers on the online form.
The first question is: Do you agree with the proposal to include major shale gas production projects in the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project regime?
We recommend that you answer No.
The next question states: “Please provide any relevant evidence to support your response to Question 1.” This is followed by a box where you can write your answers, and you can also upload supporting documents in .doc, .docx, .odt, .odm or .pdf formats.
So, this is your opportunity to argue against the proposal of fracking production to become an NSIP. Here are some points you can make, and of course please add your own.
You can also add any comments explaining why you are opposed to fracking in general – for example, its impact on health, water, climate change and the amount of traffic, noise and air pollution is creates – and upload any documents you think will support your arguments.
This question asks: “If you consider that major shale gas production projects should be brought into the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project regime, which criteria should be used to indicate a nationally significant project with regards to shale gas production?”
You are then asked: “Please select one or more from the options below, or provide other criteria if applicable.” … with a range of options listed below on the form.
As you can see, this question is only directed at those who agree with the government’s proposals, which is also true of the rest of the consultation. But don’t go away – this is still an opportunity to add your comments.
We suggest here that you don’t tick any of the options listed – as by doing so you will be supporting the idea that fracking production should in some way become an NSIP – but instead add one of the following comments (or your own version) in the ‘Other: Please specify’ box.
Question 4 states: “Please provide any relevant evidence to support your response(s) to Question 3.”
If you would like to add any comments or documents to support your answers to question 3, then this is the place to add them. Again, this is an opportunity to include any concerns you have about fracking in general if you haven’t done so already.
This question asks: “At what stage should this change be introduced? For example, as soon as possible, ahead of the first anticipated production site, or when a critical mass of shale gas exploration and appraisal sites has been reached.”
Again this assumes that you are in favour of fracking production becoming an NSIP, and is simply asking when you would like it introduced. It’s a bit like asking when you would like your countryside destroyed – as soon as possible, next year, or a few years down the line. We suggest you answer this question with one of the following paragraphs (or your own version):
This question asks: “Please provide any relevant evidence to support your response to Question 5.”
Again, if you have any other documents to add here, then please do so.
And that’s it! Don’t forget to send in your responses, either online or by email/post, and please spread the word about this issue with neighbours, friends, family and colleagues. Also please make sure you contact your MP and local councillors to ask them to oppose this proposal. To find out how to do this, and what you can ask them to do, please visit this page.
And if you haven’t done it already, please respond to the parallel consultation on whether non-hydraulic exploratory drilling for shale gas should be considered as Permitted Development (PD). To find out more about this, and for easy-to-use guidelines on how to respond to the consultation, click here.