Jonathan Leake gives a misleading impression in his Sunday Times article by saying that the Valuation Office Agency has indicated that the value of homes may be reduced as a result of shale prospects in an area.
The VOA has not said property prices will be affected by shale gas extraction, or that council tax bands will be reduced as a consequence. The VOA will review a council tax band when a taxpayer supplies information to support their view that the banding should be reduced to reflect a change in the immediate locality. Each case has to be considered carefully – the VOA will check whether the property is still in the correct band, as bands cover a range of values.
There is no evidence that house prices have been affected in over half a century of oil and gas exploration in the UK and we see no reason to see why this would change for shale gas and oil extraction. We are putting in place stringent regulations, safety and planning regimes to encourage the responsible development of shale gas in line with our environmental objectives. Shale has a positive part to play in our future energy mix, providing energy security, driving growth and creating jobs.