The UK Onshore Operators Group (UKOOG) supports Government proposals to give automatic access rights to underground land below 300 metres, bringing it in line with other industries such as water, gas, electricity and sewage.
And so do a majority of voters, according to a new opinion survey by OKOOG.
The current system involves significant potential delays and costs without benefit either to the company or the landowner.
A UKOOG spokesman said: “Horizontal drilling for natural gas and oil from shale typically uses a well of 6-9 inches in diameter at least a mile below the surface.
“This underground activity will not be noticeable at the surface and will not impact on the enjoyment landowners have of their property at the surface. At this depth, the land is not in use by the landowner.
“As part of these changes the industry will provide a public notification system that will set out the relevant area of underground land, a one-off payment of £20,000 for each unique horizontal well that extends by more than 200 metres laterally and that local residents will continue to be able have their say on a project through the planning and permitting process.”
In a recent Populus survey – commissioned by UKOOG – a total of 4,086 people were asked:
“The Government is planning to introduce permission for use of underground land for other pipelines such as oil and gas wells and geothermal energy. These pipelines would typically be 6-9 inches in diameter and a mile or more underground. Do you agree or disagree with introducing permission for other pipelines such as oil and gas wells and geothermal energy?”
Overall, 42% agree with the planned changes to underground land access, compared with 16% who disagree. Nearly a third (30%) of respondents are neutral, whilst 12% were unsure.