Cabinet Panel: Minerals Local Plan Update
Motion 782, which was considered by Full Council under the last administration, requested the Cabinet Member for Fire, Planning and Infrastructure establish a cross party advisory group to consider those aspects of the emerging Minerals Local Plan that relate to ‘Fracking’ and to allow members to represent the concerns of local communities.
Following the council elections in June 2017, Cllr. Moor (Cabinet Member for Fire, Planning and Infrastructure) oversaw the setting up of a cross party Cabinet Panel, including the following members: - Cllr. Moor, as panel chairman; (Cabinet Member for Fire, Planning and Infrastructure); Cllr. Allaway-Martin; Cllr. Hale; Cllr. Cordwell; and Cllr. Morgan.
The Cabinet Panel met on 11th September 2017 to review a technical report and to receive a presentation prepared by officers concerning planning policy related matters pertinent to the issue of potential fracking proposals in Gloucestershire. The meeting also provided an opportunity for members to highlight and discuss concerns raised to them over the recent past regarding several candidate licenses over parts of the county.
The outcomes of the Cabinet Panel included the preparation of a report, which endorsed a series of planned amendments to the draft Minerals Local Plan for Gloucestershire. In summary the amendments amounted to the removal of draft MLP policy MW06 Oil & Gas and its associated elements; and significant changes to the spatial portrait to explain the current circumstances surrounding the regulatory regime including licensing, for future fracking proposals. The changes also set out a mechanism for instigating a local policy review in the event circumstances were to change and that consideration was again given to investigating the potential for fracking in the county.
At present, Gloucestershire is not subject to any oil & gas exploration licenses. All previous candidate licence applications have been withdrawn. This means no proposals can be explored or planning applications considered until a new licensing exercise has been completed. The national licensing body – the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) have no plans to run a new licensing exercise in the foreseeable future.
A verbal update was provided to the Environment & Communities Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 20th September 2017. A more detailed report will be presented to the Environment & Communities Scrutiny Committee on 22nd November 2017. Full Council will also be provided with an update on 6th December 2017.