The regulatory framework that unconventional gas and fracking takes place in is complex but there are three key areas stages:
If a company wants to extract gas – unconventional or not – it must first apply to the Department of Energy and Climate change for a license known as a PEDL (Petroleum Exploration and Development License) . Find out more about licensing.
Once a company has a license it can start exploring for gas in that area, however as soon as it needs to build any above ground infrastructure it needs to apply to the relevant local authority for planning permission. Find out more about planning.
When a local authority is considering a planning application they have to consult SEPA, Scotland’s environmental regulator, to ensure that the development does not impact adversely on the local environment. But their are limits to what SEPA can do: find out more.