03 June 2014
Institute of Directors urges Government to boost shale gas exploration in the UK. Shale gas measures may be included in Queen's Speech alongside new rules on pensions, SME lending, infrastructure and zero hours contracts
The Institute of Directors has urged the Government to use the Queen’s Speech to scrap the trespass laws that hamper shale gas exploration.
The business lobby group has said the laws “must be updated if the UK is to enjoy the benefits of our shale potential.” It has called for additions to be made to the Energy Bill which is expected to be included in the fresh list of legislation due to be presented at the State Opening of Parliament. “Wells several kilometres below the surface have no impact on homeowners, and unless this law is changed the fracking industry will never get off its feet,” the IoD has said.
The IoD added that the planning and permitting system for shale gas should be overhauled and simplified. “The delays are putting off investors, who are not prepared to wait years and years to see a return,” it said ahead of the Speech.
The British Chambers of Commerce said it would back legislative changes that helped shale exploration. “While fracking may be unpalatable to some, it is absolutely essential, and business will support legislative measures to exploit Britain’s shale gas deposits,” the business group said.
Adam Marshall, director of policy at the BCC, said businesses would be happiest with less rather than more legislation in today’s Queen's Speech. “Ministers’ attention should be focused firmly on delivering existing commitments - from deregulation to infrastructure - rather than introduce a raft of new bills that distract their attention from economic growth,” he said.
The IoD said an Employment Bill should remove the exclusivity clauses in “zero hours” employment contracts. “Use of these clauses is not justified in most cases and should be heavily restricted,” said the IoD. “However, the Government must make the case for maintaining labour market flexibility, which has protected jobs through the recession.”
The CBI has called for the “creation of a beneficial ownership register which will support efforts to promote transparency and stamp out illicit financial activity.”
The IoD’s Director General, Simon Walker, said: “From unleashing digital innovation to supporting flexibility in a changing labour market, there is much work still to do.”