CHANGES to hydraulic fracturing assessment guidelines released by Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority have secured the praise of both industry and environmental lobby groups.

The new policy will see the EPA formally assess shale fracking projects that it considers will significantly impact the environment.

Criteria which might lead the EPA to assess a project include the scale of the proposal, uncertainty regarding available information, the potential impact on an environmentally sensitive area and whether a source of drinking water may be affected.

Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association chief operating officer for the Western region, Stedman Ellis, said the new guidelines were a pragmatic and responsible approach.

“The EPA has effectively said that new proposals should be considered on their merits and, if approved, be required to operate in accordance with strict regulations,” he said.