Determining the planning application | Planning Practice Guidance

How should National Parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites plan for unconventional hydrocarbons?

In considering applications for unconventional hydrocarbon development in National Parks, the Broads and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, mineral planning authorities should give great weight to conserving their landscape and scenic beauty.  These areas have the highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty, and the conservation of wildlife and cultural heritage in these areas should be given great weight.

Where applications represent major development, planning permission should be refused in National Parks, the Broads and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty except in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated they are in the public interest.  The assessment that needs to be carried out, including any detrimental effect on the environment, such as the noise and traffic which may be associated with hydraulic fracturing, is set out in paragraph 116 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

World Heritage Sites are heritage assets of the highest significance.  Where a proposed development for unconventional hydrocarbons would lead to substantial harm to or loss of a World Heritage Site, mineral planning authorities should refuse consent unless wholly exceptional circumstances apply.  The test to be considered by mineral planning authorities is set out in paragraph 133 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

Where appropriate, planning conditions can be imposed to ensure that development is made acceptable in planning terms before it can proceed.

Revision date: 28 07 2014

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