The House of Lords is concerned that the government is not doing enough to unlock the “substantial benefits” of shale gas in the UK, according to a report published today.

The committee has expressed total support for the government’s plan to ‘go all out for shale’ but is concerned that regulatory regime surrounding hydraulic fracturing is currently hindering the expansion of the industry.

Since the moratorium on fracking in the UK was lifted in 2012, the Environment Agency has not received a single application to carry out exploratory drilling in the UK – a symptom of complex regulation delaying the process according to the House of Lords.

In the report the committee notes that the UK is “exceptionally fortunate” to possess “substantial” shale gas and oil resources.

Lord MacGregor, chairman of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, said: “The committee strongly supports the government’s decision to go ‘all out for shale’. But here in the UK we have not yet left the starting gate. Developing a successful shale gas and oil industry in the UK must be an urgent national priority.

“Only exploratory drilling with hydraulic fracturing, then appraisal, can show how much of the UK’s shale resource can be developed economically. But there seems to be a regulatory logjam; the Environment Agency has not received or approved a single permit application to undertake hydraulic fracturing since 2012. The government has made attempts to simplify the regulatory regime for development of shale but these measures have not gone far enough. Our report shows that unnecessary duplication and diffusion of authority are still rife throughout the regulatory process.

“The government must do more to simplify regulation to ensure that exploratory drilling and development can go ahead. Regulation around shale should be robust, but should move quickly and be easy to understand.”

The report has been published after a recent YouGov poll showed that 74% of Brits oppose governmental plans to allow fracking firms to drill underneath properties without their permission. Greenpeace UK chief scientist Dr Doug Parr lambasted the report, labelling fracking as “a non-solution”.

Parr continued: “It won’t deliver for many years, if ever. The real urgent national priority is to push ahead with the renewable technology and efficiency measures which would much more rapidly address the security issues flagged up by the Ukraine crisis.”

Parr also expressed concern about the veracity of the evidence that the Lords used to form its report, accusing the committee of “cherry-picking” evidence that fits a foregone conclusion. Parr summarised: “This is just more taxpayer-funded cheerleading from unelected politicians who seem all too happy to ignore the country’s legitimate concerns about fracking.”

Responding to the report, Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion said:  “It’s disgraceful that this Lords Committee has casually dismissed legitimate public concerns about health and environmental impacts of fracking.

“This is contrary to a recent British Medical Journal editorial warning that downplaying the health risks of drilling for shale gas would be a leap of faith unsubstantiated by scientific evidence. The committee has also ignored public interest by backing the Coalition’s deplorable plans to change the law to allow fracking companies to drill under people’s homes and land without their permission.”