Information on the UK Policy towards hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and shale gas is found here.
This location contains links to related documents on the topic that are in the public domain.
The Department’s Blog on the 14th round of onshore oil and gas licences is here.
The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) document that has been prepared is here.
The above documents and links address statutory regulations (planning and environmental).
In addition, the Tort of Trespass exists in Common Law.
In summary – ownership of property gives ownership of the strata beneath the surface of the land (in the absence of any express or implied alienation), and therefore prima facie possession of them. Installing pipelines or other intrusions is therefore a trespass; but, if it does not interfere with the owner’s enjoyment of his land, damages will be low. This was last tested in Star Energy UK Onshore UK Limited Bocardo S A.
In this case a trespass was found even though under the Petroleum (Production) Act 1934, all petrol in strata in Great Britain belongs to the Crown (the State), and the Crown is able to grant licences to bore for and get petroleum, which it had done.
When planning approval is granted to drill, and a Trespass is claimed, it may be open to the energy developer to apply for a statutory easement for the necessary rights. This would be tested in the courts.