A BRIEFING note about the controversial practice of onshore shale gas exploration, known as "fracking" will go before Monmouthshire planners at their meeting in Usk on Tuesday.

A letter by Jane Coppock, development plans manager for the authority, explains that the draft briefing note outlines the process of hydraulic fracturing, the phases of extraction and the key regulators involved in the extraction and development process.

It includes the key conclusions and recommendations of a June report of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee, which is headed by David Davies MP for Monmouth.

The Select Committee concluded that shale gas "offers a wealth of potential benefits" for Wales, in terms of energy supply, economic benefits and employment.

There is no specific Wales planning policy guidance regarding onshore shale gas exploration, the letter explains, but in July 2014 the Welsh Government issued a clarification outlining the national guidance relating to minerals development.

"As minerals planning authority, Monmouthshire County Council would be responsible for the determination of any necessary planning applications in accordance with (national guidance) and the adopted Monmouthshire Local Development Plan," says the letter.

"In Wales, shale gas development is at an early exploratory stage. There are a number of (relevant) licenses in South Wales, including a licence to Sonorex Oil and Gas covering parts of Newport and a small part of south west Monmouthshire in the 13th licensing round."