All forms of development, including energy production, require some form of surface land use, shale gas and oil extraction is no different. In the same way as any other planning application, onshore oil and gas developers must submit plans to local planning authorities and the environmental regulator to ensure that the impact of any proposed development on habitats have been considered and suitable avoidance or mitigation is put in place.

All proposed development, (including wind farms and solar parks) of a scale where an Environmental Impact Assessment is required by law, must assess any potential impacts on the wider environment, including potential habitat issues which may arise. The developer must provide suitable avoidance or mitigation measures that are specific in the local context. This is standard practice for all development.

UKOOG recently published a paper that looked at the issue of industrialisation of the countryside. We found that a typical licence block (10 km by 10km) would likely have between 7 and 11 shale gas pads with the use of the land being around 0.2% of the overall licence block.

The total land area of the facility is smallest for the shale gas pad, and largest for the wind farm. The land area actually occupied by stuff is smallest for the shale gas pad, and largest for the solar park

David McKay Former Chief Scientist for DECC, 2014