Unconventional Hydrocarbons in Cumbria

There has been a lot of interest over the past few years in harnessing a wider variety of energy sources in order to replace or supplement traditional finite fossil fuels. Increasingly, companies are looking into the extraction of the more difficult to reach hydrocarbons such as the unconventional hydrocarbons of shale gas, shale oil and coal bed methane, that are found in a reservoir of shale rock or coal seams.

The public and other Local Authorities have approached Officers and Councillors at the County Council for information on the Council's position regarding fracking (hydraulic fracturing of shale rock, in order to extract shale oil or gas).  Questions have also been asked on whether there are any existing licences for fracking in Cumbria and whether the County Council has any briefing material on the subject.

Consequently a briefing has been produced which pulls together factual data on the range of unconventional hydrocarbons, of which shale gas is one, and explains the permissioning process for hydrocarbon licences.  It also sets out the current situation regarding licences in Cumbria, national policy on hydrocarbons and discusses the approach taken to hydrocarbons in the adopted Cumbria Minerals and Waste Local Plan. This briefing can be used as a baseline to aid responses to questions on fracking and other unconventional hydrocarbons, or can be adapted by the County Council and other Local Authorities in Cumbria, for presentations.  This briefing will be updated when new information is received or if the situation in Cumbria changes.

The Briefing Note that was first produced in November 2013 has since been updated. The latest version (June 2018) can be accessed below.

Minerals and Waste Planning Policy
Cumbria County Council
County Offices
Busher Walk
01539 713409