The BBC reports that Whitehall sources have confirmed that Ministers want to give energy companies the right to run shale gas pipelines under private land. The planned move, aimed at kick-starting the fracking industry, will be included in the Queen’s Speech as part of an Infrastructure Bill.
The companies will still need planning permission to drill for shale gas, but they will be able to install pipes to transport the gas under private land without fear of breaking trespass laws. The Infrastructure Bill would also give the affected landowners the right to compensation.
Ministers fear landowners and anti-fracking protesters would use existing laws to block shale gas extraction in the UK, as it suggests prior permission is needed to run pipelines thousands of feet below private land.
Ministers have been worried that other countries, especially in Eastern Europe, were making fracking there appear more attractive to investors than Britain and believe that a clarification in the law will send a positive signal to fracking companies.
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