In the last week, I have asked for an update on policies referring to Fracking within Glasgow's Planning framework. This follows on from previous correspondence with council officials seeking the inclusion of a policy on fracking. I have been advised as follows:-
"The Executive Committee approved the Proposed City Development Plan (CDP) for Glasgow in April 2014 and it was subject to an 8 week public representation period in May and June. An Examination into objections received to the Proposed CDP is likely to commence around the middle of 2015 and when this is concluded, and the Plan adopted, it will replace City Plan 2.
The Proposed CDP (http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=19258&p=0 – policy CDP5: Resource Management) makes specific reference to on-shore oil and gas extraction (which includes hydraulic fracturing or fracking), stating:
“Currently, two very small parts of the City at Milton and Robroyston fall within a Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence (PEDL) area. Given the size of these areas, and their proximity to communities (either existing or proposed), applications for extraction of on-shore oil and gas are unlikely to be acceptable in Glasgow. Should the PEDL licence areas be extended to include more of the City, then the Council will:
- require to be satisfied, on grounds of safety (given the extensive undermining affecting many parts of the City), that a proposal would be acceptable;
- require to be satisfied that the risks of adverse environmental and other impacts (such as those specified in the SPP and on Climate Change Act targets) have been fully addressed; and
- bring forward Supplementary Guidance which provides more detail on how points 1 and 2 will be assessed and planning applications determined.”
An objection to the Proposed Plan’s stance on on-shore oil and gas has been made. It contends that the policy should be reworded to bring it into line with Scottish Planning Policy (see below), and to exclude any suggestion that planning applications for extraction of oil and gas are unlikely to be acceptable within the Glasgow City boundary.
The objections to the Plan, and the proposed responses to them, will be considered by Committee in the Spring of 2015.
Should Committee wish to amend policy CDP5 in accordance with the objection, then it is likely that such an amendment would be deemed significant, with the result that a new version of the Proposed Plan would need to be prepared and a new public representation period undertaken. Should Committee not agree with the objection, then the objection will be considered at the Examination into unresolved objections to the Plan.
On the 28th July 2014, the UK Energy Minister invited applications for PED Licences for large areas of the UK, including all of Central Scotland (and Glasgow) not already subject to one. Applications for Licences were accepted up to 28th October 2014. It has not, yet, been announced whether further licences for exploration are to be granted for additional areas of the City.
Moreover, the Smith Commission has recommended devolving the licensing of fracking to Scotland. Should this happen, then it is not clear whether this would mean the Scottish Government would determine the licenses applied for during the licensing round which closed on 28th October.
Should further licences be granted for Glasgow, then the Council will prepare Supplementary Guidance, to accompany the CDP, which will set out, in detail, how the impact of fracking proposals will be determined in the City, in line with SPP. The content of the Supplementary Guidance would require to be drafted to reflect the position set out in the adopted City Development Plan, including any modifications made as a result of the Examination."
I will keep in contact with constituents concerned about the development of this policy.