I am today announcing the start of a consultation on draft regulations to implement 100% local retention of business rates on shale oil and gas sites.
We believe shale oil and gas may hold potential for adding to the UK’s energy sources, helping to improve energy security, create jobs and meet carbon targets. And to ensure shale development is safe there are robust rules in place to ensure on-site safety, prevent water contamination and mitigate seismic activity and minimise air emissions.
We also believe that local councils and communities should share in the economic opportunities and benefits of shale oil and gas. The draft regulations we are publishing today will ensure that local councils that host shale oil or gas sites can benefit from millions of pounds in business rates paid by site operators. The measure could be worth up to £1.7 million for a typical site and will be funded by central government.
The draft regulations define the sites on which 100% retention of business rates will apply and set out the arrangements for sharing that revenue between the different tiers of local government. Consultation will allow us to ensure we have correctly defined shale oil and gas sites and that the regulations, once made, will give local government the certainty they need over future business rates income.
Once we have considered responses to the consultation we will lay the regulations before Parliament with a view to them coming into force by 1 April 2015. I have placed a copy of the consultation document and draft regulations in the Library of the House, and the consultation document is also available online.