The Government remain fully committed to making planning decisions faster and fairer for all those affected by new development, and to ensure that local communities are fully involved in planning decisions that affect them.
Today I have published a consultation on whether applicants should be required to conduct pre-application consultation with the local community prior to submitting a planning application for shale gas development. The consultation will also seek views on the process of community consultation that should be required, and what stages of shale gas development should be covered by the consultation.
The Government recognise that early engagement with local authorities on shale gas applications, including capitalising on formal pre-application discussions, is critical in building confidence in decision making, securing support for development proposals, and setting realistic timeframes for decisions. Requiring applicants to conduct community pre-application consultation prior to undertaking shale gas development could further strengthen the role local people play in the planning process.
This consultation is open for 10 weeks until 7 January 2019. I will inform the House of the outcome of the consultation as appropriate.