In March the Government published its response to a consultation on changes to statutory consultee arrangements in planning applications.

The consultation had sought views on whether water companies should be statutory consultees in relation to planning applications for shale oil and gas development. Government will now bring forward a requirement that water and sewerage companies be consulted before consent is granted for high volume hydraulic fracturing exceeding prescribed levels of fluid injection taking place in land at a depth of 1000 metres or more.

Water UK welcomed the move, which augments the memorandum of understanding between Water UK and the UK Onshore Operators Group.