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Fracking to be fast-tracked

Fracking to be fast-tracked

The government is currently consulting on whether to speed up the application process for fracking and allow proposals for exploratory drilling to skip through the normal stages of the planning system.

Taken together, the government’s proposals would make it easier to gain permission for non-hydraulic exploratory drilling and curtail the power of local authorities to oppose applications through the planning system. This an unacceptable move that will undermine local democracy and faith in the planning system.

Fracking poses serious risks to our countryside and so should be subject to greater, not less scrutiny, so we are urgently working to force the government to drop these damaging proposals.

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, effectively removing local councils’ decision making powers and ability to reflect their communities’ wishes. Permitted Development is intended for developments that can guarantee no unreasonable impact on the locality – smaller things like erecting a conservatory – not drilling for shale gas. This proposal is a distortion of the intentions of the planning system, eroding local scrutiny and decision making.

  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 national government - despite local opposition.

Widespread lack of support

The government has suffered a number of setbacks recently in relations to these specific proposals, and fracking more generally – including from its own advisory bodies. Since the proposals were announced:

  • Over 150,000 of us have signed our petition demanding the PD and NSIP proposals are dropped.
  • A report from the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee urged the government to drop its plans to fast-track fracking and dismisses the government proposals to do so as ‘hugely harmful’.
  • The UK’s first-ever National Infrastructure Assessment (a report by the government’s own infrastructure advisory body) made no recommendations for fracking.
  • The National Grid’s recent report on future energy scenarios does not include shale gas in any scenario that meets the 2050 Climate Change Act targets.

The government is currently holding public consultations on these proposals, both of which close on 25 October 2018. Over the coming weeks, we will be working with our network of 43 branches across England, to produce and submit responses to them both, outlining our position and explaining why it is so important that these proposals are dropped.

How can you help?

Write to your local council leader to make sure they know what is going on, and to ask them to take it up with their MP. Local councils are at risk of losing the powers they currently hold to oppose fracking in the planning process, so we need to ensure their voices are heard throughout the consultation.

Write to button

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

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Donate to help us keep up the pressure both nationally and locally to get these proposals dropped.

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Time and again fracking has been held up at almost every stage of the planning process by local authorities and the people they represent. Together we can see these proposals dropped. 

Find out more about our #FrackturedCommunities campaign.

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