The project advances theoretical and practical perspectives on underground governance in the UK. It bridges scholarly perspectives and practitioners’ experiences to develop new governance modes for underground space use including increased recognition in land use planning. In the light of increasing claims on the underground space for fracking, transport, geothermal energy or carbon capture and storage, I assess the question how an improved and sustainable governance of underground spaces can be ensured to protect for example drinking water.

Geological underground models deliver only frameworks for possible uses and we do not know much about the context between geological characteristics and the human uses, demands and changes of underground space. Moreover, governing underground space can be complicated as it involves conflicting objectives and regulatory frameworks. One key objective of this research is to conceptualise a new approach to underground governance and regulation that takes into account its diverse uses and various stakeholders’ claims on underground resources.

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