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The Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing (Protected Areas) Regulations 2016 are made 10th March 2016 and will come into force when section 4A of the Petroleum Act 1998 (inserted by s.50 of the Infrastructure Act 2015) enters into force.
Section 4A of the Petroleum Act 1998 sets out onshore hydraulic fracturing safeguards. In particular, it creates 11 pre-conditions that have to be complied with before the Secretary of State will issue a well consent authorising the drilling of a well for onshore hydraulic fracturing. In addition to the 11 pre-conditions, the Secretary of State must also be satisfied that it is appropriate to issue the well consent.
The Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing (Protected Areas) Regulations 2016 define the terms “protected groundwater source areas” and “other protected areas” for the purposes of section 4A of the Petroleum Act 1998.
Section 50 of the Infrastructure Act 2015 inserts sections 4A and 4B into the Petroleum Act 1998. Section 4B sets out supplementary provisions applicable to section 4A, and is already in force (Infrastructure Act Commencement Order No. 4).
Conditions 5 and 6 (of the 11 conditions in section 4A) provide that associated hydraulic fracturing is not to take place in “protected groundwater source areas” or “other protected areas”.
The 2016 Regulations are found here.
Section 50 of the Infrastructure Act is found here.