The Shale Gas team sits within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Energy Development Unit (EDU). EDU is responsible for encouraging and overseeing energy development in the UK, to ensure we make the best use of our available natural resources.
Shale gas can enhance our energy security, provide economic growth and be an important part of our transition to a low carbon future. The government’s Shale Gas team aims to promote the safe, responsible, and environmentally sound recovery of the UK’s shale reserves of gas. This covers the development of shale gas and oil and other forms of production such as coal bed methane.
The UK has promising shale reserves. The British Geological Survey estimates that the Bowland-Hodder shale in Northern England contains 1300 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas. However, we make no assumption about production levels. We need exploration to determine the potential.
Industry will determine what resources are economically viable, and the Government wants to ensure the right framework is in place to support industry and local communities as this exploration and, in some cases, production, moves forward.
The Shale Gas team works closely with other parts of government with an interest or responsibility in this area.
Protect the environment and safeguard public health
Ensure regulation, including the planning and permitting processes, is robust through all phases (exploration, appraisal, development, production and decommissioning) in order to protect public health, the environment, and the workforce.
Ensure policies are in place for safe decommissioning of sites and high quality restoration of the land, without increasing burden to the public purse.
Make the most of our natural resources
- Ensure we make the best use of our natural resources by encouraging the development of the shale gas industry in the UK in a way that maximises the benefits to the economy by improving security of supply, creating jobs, growth and investment, and supporting the transition to a low carbon economy at the least cost.
- Work with HMT to support the growth of these industries by ensuring coherence between the regulatory, licensing and taxation regimes.
Ensure local communities benefit from development in their area
- Work with HMT to ensure that local people benefit first from shale developments, and that individuals and communities who host developments will be directly involved in the decision making about how the tax revenues from shale are spent.
- Work with industry to provide a coherent benefits package for local communities at exploration and production phases of development.
Support public engagement
- Support the industry regulators with a programme of engagement activities to better understand local concerns and explain their work in ensuring that operations are safe and environmentally sound.
- Support local authorities to engage with their communities on issues specific to their area, helping to resolve issues. Ensure that, where appropriate, projects can move forward with the engagement of the local community Build our knowledge base
- Support the provision of comprehensive, timely and accurate information on shale gas development, commissioning research as needed to fill knowledge gaps and base our policy on the best available evidence.
- Liaise with international bodies to share experience and best practice.