Europe urgently needs to draft centralised hydraulic fracturing (fracking) regulations to reduce confusion for businesses and close loopholes for potentially damaging practices, leading environmental lawyers from both the NGO and corporate spheres have told IBA Global Insight.
There are currently no European Union (EU) laws directly addressing fracking. Instead, the process is controlled by a series of environmental rules already in place, including those tackling water pollution, hazardous waste and emissions.
Matthew Townsend, head of the London Environmental and Regulatory Law Group at Allen & Overy, says the current system generates perplexing compliance issues for both clients and regulators, creating a strong barrier for entry. ‘We have myriad regimes potentially applicable to onshore fracking activities and shale gas exploration, none of which were designed with those activities in mind,’ he tells IBA Global Insight. ‘It’s a major headache for developers to navigate their way through what can only…
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