Consents, licences and permissions potentially required for exploration of onshore oil and gas activities

There are potentially eleven licences or consents required from NRW, five of which fall under the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2016 (EPR).

In all cases a mining waste permit is required for onshore oil and gas activities. You may also need one or more additional environmental permits.

Radioactive substances activity permit

A radioactive substances permit is likely to be required in all circumstances where oil and gas is produced.

A1 installation permit

An A1 installation permit will be needed if you intend to flare more than 10 tonnes of gas per day. If is it less than 10 tonnes of gas per day it is subject to a Mining Waste Activity permit.

Groundwater activity permit

A groundwater activity permit is required unless we are satisfied that there is no risk of inputs to groundwater.

Water discharge activity permit

A water discharge permit is required for any discharges to surface water.

Flood risk activity permit

A flood risk activity permit is required if works are to be carried out in, over, under or near a main river, flood defence or a sea defence. For all other non-main river watercourses, a consent will be required from the regulatory authority responsible for the watercourse.

Additional licences and consents

The following licences may also be required, depending on circumstance:

A European Protected Species Licence may be required where there is potential to have adverse effects on a protected species. You may also be subject to assessment under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.

A Water Abstraction Licence is needed if you plan to abstract more than 20m3/day, rather than purchasing water from a public water supply utility company

A Groundwater Investigation Consent may be required to cover drilling and test pumping where there is the potential to abstract more than 20m3/day in the production process.

A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) Consent is required where there is potential to impact designated protected sites.

Operators must also serve a notice to NRW under Section 199 of the Water Resources Act 1991 (as amended by the Water Act 2003) a notice of intention to "construct a boring for the purposes of searching for or extracting minerals”.