Energy firms could be able to bypass negotiations with land owners for certain fracking operations under plans revealed by the government today.
Business and energy minister Michael Fallon announced a consultation into proposals to allow access for shale gas operations at least 300m below the ground in return for a £20,000 community payment.
This would replace the current arrangement where energy companies have to negotiate with each landowner above their drilling sites. Planning permission will still be required.
The move comes after a house of Lords committee warned red tape was holding back attempts to develop a fracking industry in the UK.
Fallon said: “We are keen for shale and geothermal exploration to go ahead while protecting residents through the robust regulation that is in place.
“These proposals allow shale and geothermal development while offering a fair deal for communities in return for underground access at depths so deep they will have no negative impact on landowners.”