The NFU has responded to a recent DECC consultation document on 'Underground Access for the Extraction of Gas, Oil or Geothermal Energy’.
According to this consultation, examination of the existing regulatory framework suggests there is scope for change to make the regime more effective with regard to access to underground land. The NFU does not believe that companies should gain access to underground land more easily if this is to the detriment of landowners. We also think that operating companies will need to consider compensation to landowners if fracking does have an impact on the open market value of their land.
The NFU remains concerned about the possible indirect impacts of shale gas exploration and development on the agricultural industry, highlighted by the recent Environmental Information Request release (29 July 2014) of a Defra internal document on 'Shale Gas: Rural Economy Impacts'.
The NFU can see that a statutory right of access is probably needed, but this should only be on the basis that each landowner is notified that drilling is taking place underground and individual compensation is made to each landowner, and it should apply below a depth limit of 1000 metres, not 300 metres as proposed. We do not agree with proposals to pay compensation only to a “relevant community body”.
You can read the NFU's response here.