I blogged earlier this week about the changes to permitted development rights being brought in by the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2016. In that blog I reported on rights to enable further changes of use to dwellinghouses from offices, launderettes and light industrial uses. This blog considers the changes being brought in in relation to mining and mineral exploration permitted development rights.

From 5 March to 16 April 2015 the Government undertook a consultation seeking views on proposals to amend permitted development rights for mining and mineral exploration to enable the drilling of boreholes for groundwater monitoring for petroleum exploration.  Following consideration of the consultation responses a feedback report was published on 13 August 2015 whereby the Government noted that it would amend permitted development rights to allow for the drilling of boreholes for groundwater monitoring for petroleum exploration.

The Government then immediately launched a second consultation which ran from 13 August to 24 September 2015.  That second consultation sought views on further amendments to permitted development rights for petroleum exploration for the drilling of boreholes for seismic investigation and monitoring, for the location and appraisal of shallow mine workings and in relation to the extension to 24 months (from 6) for the duration of the proposed new permitted development rights for groundwater monitoring.  The Government published its response to this second consultation in December 2015.

The amendment order published last week takes forward the outcome of these two consultations.

The existing mining and mineral exploration permitted development rights are set out in Part 17 of Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015.  Articles 12, 13 and 14 of the 2016 amending order will permit, subject to conditions and limitations, the drilling of boreholes for the purposes of:

  • carrying out groundwater monitoring;
  • carrying out seismic monitoring; and
  • locating and appraising the condition of mines.

This is provided that these works are preparatory to petroleum exploration.

The development may take place for a period not exceeding 28 consecutive days under new permitted development right Class JA of Part 17 (temporary use of land etc in respect of petroleum exploration).  However, a further new permitted development right, Class KA of Part 17 (use of land etc in respect of petroleum exploration), enables the developer to have the benefit of the permitted development right for a longer period of time. The developer must notify the relevant mineral planning authority in writing of its intentions and then the permitted development may take place for a period not exceeding 24 months (drilling of boreholes for groundwater monitoring) or 6 months (all other cases) unless the mineral planning authority agrees otherwise in writing. It is possible for authorities to restrict the rights otherwise permitted under Class KA.

The height restriction on any structure assembled or provided in respect of such permitted development is increased from 12 metres to 15 metres.

Development under the existing Class J (temporary use of land etc for mineral exploration) will no longer be permitted in the Broads.  It is already not permitted within a National Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty, a site of archaeological interest or a site of special scientific interest.

The amendments to the mining and mineral exploration permitted development rights have been broadly welcomed by those in the shale gas industry.