Estimates of the length of time that the UK's onshore shale gas reserves could supply the UK for have ranged from 25 to 500 years. Given such estimates, uncertainty in the UK's energy security, and the economic benefits associated with a flourishing shale gas industry in other countries such as the US, the UK Government is keen to exploit these reserves. However, resistance at a local level has hitherto been a largely insurmountable hurdle for the industry, with no shale gas yet having been recovered on a commercial scale. This article looks at the current regulatory landscape for shale gas extraction, problems struck by applications to date, the latest Government proposal to overcome the local engagement problem, and finally analyses whether this proposal is likely to be successful.
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