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Policy SI11 Hydraulic fracturing (fracking)

SI11

  1. Development proposals for exploration, appraisal or production of shale gas via hydraulic fracturing should be refused.

In line with the Plan’s policy approach to energy efficiency, renewable energy, climate change, air quality, and water resources, the Mayor does not support fracking in London.

The British Geological Survey concluded in a 2014 report for the Department of Energy and Climate Change that “there is no significant Jurassic shale gas potential in the Weald Basin”[134]. It is highly unlikely that there is any site that is geologically suitable for a fracking development in London.

[134] The Jurassic shales of the Weald Basin: geology and shale oil and shale gas resource estimation. British Geological Survey for DECC 2014 https://www.ogauthority.co.uk/media/2773/bgs_decc_jurassicwealdshale_stu...

Should any London fracking proposal come forward there is a high probability that it would be located on Green Belt or Metropolitan Open Land. Furthermore, London and the south east of England are seriously water-stressed areas. Fracking operations not only use large amounts of water but also presents risks of potential contamination, presenting significant risks to London.

In addition to avoiding or mitigating adverse construction and operational impacts (noise, dust, visual intrusion, vehicle movements and lighting, on both the natural and built environment, including air quality and the water environment), any fracking proposal would need to take full account, where relevant, of the following environmental constraints:

  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Sites of Special Scientific Interest
  • Groundwater Source Protection Zone 1
  • Special Protection Areas (adopted or candidate)
  • Special Areas of Conservation (adopted or candidate)
  • Sites of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation
  • Groundwater or surface water

The United Kingdom Onshore Oil and Gas Group (UKOOG), which represents the industry, has established a Community Engagement Charter for new onshore oil and gas proposals[135]. The Charter sets out a number of commitments for operators which includes engagement with local communities at each of the three main stages of operations (exploration, appraisal and production). Where any proposals for fracking to come forward, applicants who are members of UKOOG would be expected to comply with these commitments.

[135] Community Engagement Charter – oil and gas from unconventional reservoirs, UKCOOG 2013 http://www.ukoog.org.uk/community/charter