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Fracking to be fast-tracked

Fracking to be fast-tracked

In May 2018, ministers announced that they wanted to speed up the application process for fracking and allow proposals for exploratory drilling to skip through the normal stages of the planning system.

This would mean that decisions about fracking would be made by national government - over the heads of communities in those localities. Opposition to fracking has been fierce and we believe that this should be recognised - not overruled by national government.

These proposals would mean applications for exploratory drilling would avoid the usual environmental impact assessments and democratic scrutiny that other types of development face.

This an unacceptable move that will undermine local democracy and faith in the planning system. We are urgently working to force the government to drop these damaging proposals and make sure fracking is subject to proper democratic scrutiny.

What has the government announced?

CPRE is most concerned about two proposals:

  1. The principle of whether exploratory drilling should be treated as permitted development.

Classifying exploration as PD would remove the need for full planning permission, completely removing local councils’ decision making powers and ability to reflect their communities’ wishes. Applying PD to fracking is a distortion of its intention and is a misuse of the planning system. Permitted Development is intended to be used to speed up planning decisions on very small developments – like conservatories or erecting a fence – not drilling for shale gas.

  1. The criteria required to trigger the inclusion of fracking into the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects Regime (NSIP).

If designated as NSIP, fracking proposals would go through a national planning process that would reduce local jurisdiction. Designating individual fracking applications as nationally significant infrastructure projects would again lead to forcing decisions from Whitehall despite local opposition.

The government is now consulting over these proposals and CPRE will be responding to both, setting out the arguments ahead.

How can you help?

Sign our 38 degrees petition to Greg Clark (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), demanding the government’s proposals are dropped.

Time and again fracking has been held up at almost every stage of the planning process by local authorities and the people they represent – yet government wants decisions on fracking to be taken at the national level, outside of local influence. We’re campaigning to stop this - find out more.

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