Call In Request refused by WAG ministers

I cannot honestly say that this surprises me. It was always going to be an uphill battle to get the test drilling proposal called in by WAG. It should be easier once actually fracking is part of the proposed activity in a subsequent application.
However, I still think we have a real, but outside chance of getting VoG to reject it, which in itself would be an important landmark event.
The battle is likely to have to go the distance, I suspect, and the distance is a very long haul I am afraid. 

I will not be submitting any further call in requests for test drilling applications, for the time being at least. I will try again on Phase Two – exploratory wells – which will probably involve trial fracking ahead of Phase Three – full scale production.

Full text of letter received from WAG is below:

Dear Mr Chyba

TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING ACT 1990 – SECTION 77
CALL IN REQUEST
APPLICATION FOR PLANNING PERMISSION TO DRILL AND TEST THE INSITU
LOWER LIMESTONE SHALE AND ASSOCIATED STRATA
LAND AT UNIT 1, LLANDOW INDUSTRIAL ESTATE, COBRIDGE
APPLICATION NO. 2011100115/FUL

I refer to your earlier correspondence asking the Welsh Ministers to call in the planning
Application referred to in the title to this letter.

I have considered the issues associated with the application in the light of the Welsh
Assembly Government’s policy on call-in (detailed in Planning Policy Wales) and have
Concluded that they are not of more than local importance. 1 have informed the Vale of
Glamorgan Council that I do not consider that the application should be called in for
Determination by the Welsh Ministers. It is now for the Council to determine the application.

In reaching my decision 1 did not consider the planning merits of the proposed development
And my decision not to call in the application should not in any way be taken as a reflection
On the planning merits of the proposal. There are, however, two points I would like to make.

The first is that the decision not to call in this application is not, nor should it be construed
As, an indication of the view of the Welsh Ministers on the merits of this application or any
Future application for development associated with the extraction of shale gas. It is simply
An indication that the Welsh Ministers saw no reason to take the responsibility for the

Determination of this application out of the hands of the local planning authority.

The second is that should the applicants decide at a later stage that they wish to extract
Shale gas then they would have to submit not only a further, separate, application to the
Local planning authority for planning permission but also obtain any necessary licences or
Consents that may be required from other bodies eg Environment Agency Wales, Health
And Safety Executive.

Yours sincerely

S M JONES

Deputy Head,
Decisions Branch
Planning Division

Signed under authority of the Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing,
One of the Welsh Ministers

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