European legislation and policies
- Petroleum Act 1998
- Sets out rules for licences to search for and extract shale gas, coal bed methane and other forms of petroleum. New section 4A sets out special rules and safeguards for fracking consents, referred to as ‘hydraulic fracturing consents’ and ‘well consents’, but these apply only in England and Wales. (This new section was inserted into the Petroleum Act by section 50 of the Infrastructure Act 2015, which does not extend to Scotland.)
- Coal Industry Act 1994, Part II
- Applies to coal-mining operations, including the treatment of coal in the strata for the purpose of winning any product of coal, which covers underground coal gasification (UCG).
- The Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction, etc.) Regulations 1996
- Despite their name, these regulations apply to onshore wells used for fracking, alongside certain offshore oil and gas drilling operations. The regulations set out requirements for well design, construction and safety.
- The Borehole Sites and Operations Regulations 1995
- Set health and safety requirements for operators of borehole sites, including wells drilled for fracking operations.
Legislation applying to England and Wales
- Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011
- Set out a procedure requiring environmental information to be taken into account when deciding planning applications for certain kinds of projects (referred to a 'EIA developments'). The procedure includes a requirement on the operator to produce an environmental statement, which must be consulted on. Not all stages of fracking projects will necessarily count as EIA developments that are covered by these regulations. This will depend on things like the amount of gas being extracted and the area of land covered by fracking operations.
- Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010
- Set the rules that apply to environmental permits. These include the procedures for considering applications, and detailed rules for protecting groundwater, assessing and approving chemicals to be injected into the ground and disposing of waste gases through flaring, amongst other things. The regulations transpose requirements of the Mining Waste Directive, Water Framework Directive, Groundwater Directive and Waste Framework Directive (and many more European directives).
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