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MI2  The Control of Oil and Gas Facilities  Policy

Planning applications for oil and natural gas exploration and extraction facilities within the Borough may be permitted, but the Local Planning Authority will have particular regard to the following:

(i) national energy policies;

(ii) the design of installations;

(iii) the siting of proposed facilities, particularly in relation to the Green Belt, Areas of Special Landscape Value, areas of nature conservation value, and the Coastal Zone;

(iv) visual appearance, noise, dirt, dust and odours associated with installations;

(v) the traffic generated by the development in relation to the local road network; and

(vi) proximity to residential or other sensitive development.

Reasoned justification :

18.12 The western part of Wirral, basically all the area west of the M53 Motorway, has been licensed by the then Department of Energy for oil and natural gas exploration, and in the 1970's and early 1980's some preliminary seismic tests have taken place within this area. Whilst the Local Planning Authority will have due regard to national energy policies, oil and natural gas exploration can have substantial environmental effects. Due consideration will be given to these effects in assessing planning applications, in order to mitigate adverse environmental conditions.

18.13 Oil and natural gas have been discovered in commercial quantities in Liverpool Bay. One company is to develop onshore facilities at Point of Ayr in Clwyd, allowed on appeal in 1992. The company is now considering options for further onshore facilities for the distribution and storage of oil which may involve a site within the Borough. If such proposals come forward, the Local Planning Authority will evaluate them within the provisions of Policy MI2, with the added condition that such development should normally be located within areas allocated for employment uses in the UDP.