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CPRE criticises fracking proposals, as consultation opens

CPRE criticises fracking proposals, as consultation opens Kirby Misperton Protection Camp

Two government consultations open today (19 July) on proposals that would streamline the planning process for fracking and reduce the ability of local communities to influence fracking applications. CPRE is criticising the government for its disregard of widespread opposition and the huge risks it poses to our countryside.

The first consultation looks at proposals for whether non-hydraulic exploratory drilling should be treated as ‘permitted development’ – a planning tool that is intended only for circumstances where developments would have no unreasonable local impact. These proposals would make getting planning permission for such exploration as easy as for building a conservatory, regardless of the many risks fracking poses to our countryside and environment.

CPRE believes that unless the government can guarantee that these risks can be fully mitigated, fracking proposals should be scrutinised further, not made easier.

The second consultation proposes to designate fracking as a ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project’. If approved, fracking proposals would go through a national planning process that would severely reduce local control. It would take away local councils’ decision-making powers and ability to reflect their communities’ wishes.

Daniel Carey-Dawes, Senior Infrastructure Campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said:

‘It’s as if the government doesn’t realise the scale of the opposition. If they press ahead with these proposals, the protests, outrage and anger from local people across the country will undoubtedly intensify.

‘These proposals would be a complete perversion of the planning system and trample over the rights of local communities - all to fast-track an industry bringing environmental risks that would massively outweigh any suggested ‘benefit’ to our energy security.’

Following the initial announcement of these proposals in May, CPRE launched a petition with 38 Degrees to demonstrate to the government the scale of opposition. The petition has received almost 150,000 signatures so far, reflecting the widespread discontent with fracking since the industry first targeted the English countryside for drilling.

Both consultations will run for 14 weeks. CPRE look forward to responding and will be championing local people’s right to protect our beloved countryside.

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