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Planning decision could lead to Bowland Shale being the energy behind the Northern Powerhouse

27 May 2016

One of the vital ingredients of economic growth continues to be overlooked, where is the energy going to come from to power the Northern Powerhouse? Tony Smith, Commercial Strategy Manager at Peel Gas and Oil, explains why a decision this week could lead to Bowland Shale being the energy behind the Northern Powerhouse.

The Government has offered potential licences in the Bowland Shale region in parts of Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. But UK shale gas development is in the exploration stage; to date the UK still has not drilled, fractured and flow tested a horizontal shale gas well. All eyes have been focused on where the first planning permission would be granted. Earlier this week there was a significant development. North Yorkshire County Council met to decide on Third Energy’s application to hydraulically fracture their existing well in Kirby Misperton. The planning committee voted and approved the application, corroborating the positive planning recommendation made by their Planning Officer.

It’s been known for some time now that shale gas represents an exciting potential energy resource for the UK and could play an important part in increasing supply security. The 2013 British Geological Survey (BGS) independent study estimated in northern England alone there is 1,329 trillion cubic feet of shale gas in place. The emerging onshore shale gas sector is a golden opportunity for the UK, with the potential to unlock a projected £30 billion in investment across the Bowland Shale area.

Peel Gas and Oil welcomes the planning decision that was taken in North Yorkshire, which could help to dispel many of the misleading claims that have been made about the hydraulic fracturing process. The decision should now enable the industry to demonstrate that shale gas can be extracted in a safe and responsible way. And ultimately Bowland Shale could be heating our homes and businesses and powering the Northern Powerhouse.

At Peel we believe we are ideally placed to become a regional hub for the shale industry drawing on existing assets, thriving ports and the wealth of expertise businesses in the area have to offer.  We have one of the largest land bank portfolios available in the UK, with 72% of Group operations based in the North West. We know from first-hand experience that connectivity is key to economic competiveness. We also believe that partnerships need to underpin this vision to provide the energy behind the Northern Powerhouse.

We are tremendously proud of our long-term vision to drive economic growth in a sustainable manner, creating wealth and prosperity for the UK and the North West. We believe this region is perfectly placed to become a hub for the industry, drawing on existing assets such as the Manchester Ship Canal and thriving ports, and a wealth of expertise businesses in the area have to offer.

The North West has an exciting opportunity to be right at the centre of the supply chain for the UK’s emerging shale gas industry, playing a key role in ensuring Bowland Shale will supply the energy to power the Northern Powerhouse. 

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