Nina Chestney LONDON (Reuters) – The British government announced measures on Thursday to speed up planning applications to support development of the shale gas industry. Weaning Britain off imports is one of the driving forces behind government support for hydraulic fracturing, which involves extracting gas obtained from rocks broken up or fractured at high pressure with water and chemicals. However, it is impossible to know exactly how much shale gas might be underground – and more importantly, how much can be extracted – until fracking has started in earnest and the industry has been slow off the mark in Britain since the first fracking operation seven years ago was stymied by earth tremors. Recent decisions on shale exploration remain “disappointedly slow”, the secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, Greg Clark, said in a written statement to Parliament. Therefore, the government said it would introduce measures to streamline and improve the regulation process for shale gas planning applications so decisions are made more quickly. It will also launch a consultation on whether exploration wells will be allowed to be drilled without the need for a planning application. The government will also launch a new 1.6 million pound ($2.2… continue reading
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