The Government is currently running a consultation on proposals to reform the procedures for securing underground access to oil and gas deposits. The consultation aims to find the right balance between the legitimate interests and concerns of landowners, and the benefits to the community and nation at large of permitting development where that development is otherwise acceptable in planning and environmental terms.

Several constituents have contacted me about the proposals that were detailed in the Queen’s Speech: it should be stressed that any legislation is entirely dependent on the outcome of this consultation. The Government is inviting feedback on the proposals outlined in the consultation, and would welcome views. You can view it and respond here.

Recent global events have highlighted the need for the UK to diversify its current energy supply. We clearly cannot allow ourselves to be too dependent on unstable regions such as Russia and the Middle East for a secure supply of affordable energy. Developing shale and deep geothermal energy also have significant potential for boosting economic growth and competitiveness.

Shale gas has the potential to reduce fuel poverty and CO2 emissions while improving energy security: its opponents cannot have it both ways. It is in our country’s best interests that we make the most of our shale gas reserves with appropriate precautions.

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