Queen’s Speech: Government Confirms Trespass Law Plans To Boost Fracking

Measures To Be Included In Bill Subject To Consultation


The Government has confirmed in this week’s Queen’s Speech that it intends to push forward with the introduction of new laws which will allow fracking companies to drill deep underneath homes without the permission of property owners.

It was confirmed in the annual speech that, subject to a 12-week consultation which is set to close on August 15th, the measures will be added to the infrastructure bill.

Under the plans, trespass laws would be changed in order to allow companies involved in fracking  – which sees water and chemicals pumped at high pressure into shale rock deep underground to  release methane gas – to drill under homes without needing permission.

The plans have proved contentious with a YouGov survey commissioned by Greenpeace recently suggesting 74 per cent of people disagree with such proposals.

Public concerns raised including those related to the risk of earth-tremors, contamination of ground and surface water and the release of greenhouse gases.

Expert Opinion
As envisaged in my article in April, the Queen’s Speech delivered yesterday announced plans to introduce legislative changes to the laws of trespass to allow energy companies to drill beneath private land without permission.

"This emotive subject is likely to produce a large response within the consultation period from energy companies, private land owners and environmental protesters, but given the energy crisis and the large economic benefits associated with fracking the legislation is likely to move quickly within this parliament.

"However, the final detail of the notification and compensation packages will no doubt be eagerly contested by both sides."
Christopher Perrin, Partner