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Information on hydraulic fracturing in Lincolnshire, including information on local shale gas deposits and the County Council’s role in determining planning applications for oil and gas extraction in Lincolnshire.

Hydraulic fracturing - or, as it is commonly known, fracking - is a process used to extract natural gas from shale rock. In simple terms, the technique involves pumping water into the ground at high pressure to make narrow fractures in the rock.

The water contains sand and a small amount of chemicals to help stimulate the gas. The process of fracking allows the gas or oil that’s trapped inside the rock to be released so it can be recovered on the surface.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has produced a document on ‘Facts about Fracking’ which gives guidance and answers to frequently asked questions about shale oil and gas and fracking.

Shale gas deposits

Lincolnshire does have conventional oil and gas reserves which have been recovered using traditional extraction techniques. A number of sites currently exist in the county, some of which have been operating since the 1950s.

It is likely that there are shale gas resources in Lincolnshire, but as yet, the full extent and location of these resources is unclear.

It is also uncertain as to whether these deposits are financially viable, or if the geology of the county is suitable for fracking.

The role of the council

As the local Minerals Planning Authority, Lincolnshire County Council is responsible for determining planning applications for oil and gas extraction in the county.

It is one of four agencies involved in granting the necessary permits and approvals. The others are the Environment Agency, Health and Safety Executive and the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

The county council judges all planning applications against the policies set out in national and local planning documents. In doing so, the council will take into account the impact the proposal will have on the community and the environment. It will also seek the views of the local community and relevant technical consultants.

Current applications

There are no sites in Lincolnshire that have permission to extract unconventional hydrocarbons (like shale gas), or to use hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

No planning applications relating to such developments have been submitted either.


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Last updated: 6 December 2017

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