Sir Paul Beresford said: 'We have today issued guidance on oil and gas extraction and the extraction of coalbed methane for public consultation. While the guidance on oil and gas updates that previously contained in Circular 2/85, the guidance on coalbed methane extraction is the first that has been issued in respect of this important energy source. This is a new type of development for the UK, although the US has several years of fruitful experience.
'Both the industry and mineral planning authorities have sought guidance on how to handle the issues involved and I hope that the guidance given in our consultation draft will answer all the questions they may raise about this new type of development. We will of course consider carefully the comments we receive during the consultation period which will help us to produce clear and concise final guidance on this issue.'