Commenting on the announcement of a new tranche of UK shale gas licenses Dr Adam Marshall, Executive Director for Policy and External Affairs for the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“Issuing new shale gas licenses will be meaningless unless planning permission can actually be secured for projects to get up and running. Ministers must take urgent action to pare back the long-winded cycle of applications and appeals, which is undermining both interest and investment in energy projects across the UK.

“We face a double threat of rising energy costs and reduced supply, a cocktail that could stifle domestic business growth and reduce our international competitiveness. Winter black-outs are currently a very real prospect, and we are becoming increasingly dependent on imported fuel from politically volatile regions.

“The rising cost of the next generation of nuclear power plants, and the energy shortages already being caused by the closure of the UK’s coal power stations, make it essential that we pursue other secure and plentiful sources of energy here at home. Given that we already import around half of our gas, a green light for shale gas exploration must be a top priority.”