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Energy Act 2008

Activities requiring a licence

Section 2: Prohibition on unlicensed activities

19.This section prohibits specified activities from being carried out, except in accordance with a licence granted under section 4.

20.Subsection (3) specifies the activities for which such a licence is required. These include the use of a “controlled place” (as defined in subsection (4)) for gas storage or unloading; the recovery of the gas stored; the conversion of natural features (such as salt domes) for use as storage space; and related exploration activities. Such activities also include the establishment and subsequent maintenance of installations (which by section 16 may be fixed or floating structures) for those purposes. However, by subsection (2), a licence will not be required for any activity falling within section 3.

21.Subsection (4) defines “gas” and “controlled place” for those purposes. By contrast to the definition in Chapter 1, “gas” is limited to combustible substances, and must consist wholly or mainly of the substances listed or other substances which may be specified by order. An order specifying a substance for these purposes is subject to negative resolution procedure (see section 94). A “controlled place” is any place within the limits of the territorial sea adjacent to the United Kingdom, (the territorial sea extends 12 nautical miles from baselines established under the Territorial Sea Act 1987 (c. 49)), or within a Gas Importation and Storage Zone designated under section

Section 3: Exception for activities carried on partly on land etc

22.This section ensures that a licence under this Chapter is not required for certain activities which relate to developments which are liable to be subject to planning control (in particular under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (c. 8)). As a result, the risk of double regulation will be avoided in such cases. The excluded activities are:

  • the establishment or maintenance of a gas unloading installation which extends at least in part into a controlled place (as defined in section 2(4)), and the unloading of gas to the installation in that place (see subsection (1)(a) and (d));

  • the conversion of a natural feature (such as a salt dome), which is only partly within a controlled place, the remainder being under land (subsection (1)(b)); and

  • the storage (and subsequent recovery) of gas at a place which similarly is only partly within a controlled place

However, such activities are excluded only where they relate to a development which can be expected to be subject to planning control. Thus in the case of a gas unloading installation, the installation must be permanently connected with land by a structure which provides access at all times and for all purposes; in the case of the conversion of a natural feature, the conversion operations must take place wholly or mainly on, over or under land; and in the case of storage and recovery of gas, the injection of the gas must take place on land. For those purposes, “land” means land above the low water mark (in Scotland), or within England or Wales (“England” and “Wales” are defined in Schedule 1 to the Interpretation Act 1978 (c. 30)).

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