Liability risk falls on landowners

Dorothy Fairburn, of the CLA, fears there are long-term risks for land owners where fracking is allowed to take place.
Dorothy Fairburn, of the CLA, fears there are long-term risks for land owners where fracking is allowed to take place.
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The Government’s controversial decision to allow fracking to take place below people’s homes without their permission will put home and land owners at risk, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) said.

The organisation said Department of Energy and Climate Change’s response to the Underground Drilling Access Consultation makes clear that the Government plans to progress with trespass law changes that allow the shale gas and geothermal industries to drill deep underneath property without the owner’s permission, but it does not make clear who is liable if things go wrong.

Dorothy Fairburn, the CLA’s regional director, said: “It’s greatly concerning that there continues to be a lack of information from the Government regarding long term liability. No assurances have been given to home and property owners that they are fully protected from losses or claims for damages should issues arise.

“Oil and gas operator interest in the land is relatively short term and there seems to be little protection for landowners should problems occur when operators become insolvent or are no longer in business decades down the line.”

Some 40,000 objections were registered to changing trespass law.

“We’re deeply disappointed that the Government isn’t prepared to take a more balanced approach, better recognising existing property rights,” Miss Fairburn said.