"Decisions about fracking should be kept at a local level" : Green County Cllr Gina Dowding
11 July 2018
Green County Councillor GIna Dowding has tabled a motion at the County's Full Council meeting on 19th July asking County Councillors to respond to the Government's forthcoming consultation about making fracking 'permitted development', with a clear call for keeping these decisions local. If passed, the motion will send a message from one of the key counties in the country affected by the shale gas industry that local people, local communities, and local authorities are the best placed to decide whether fracking is appropriate and safe in the areas where the shale gas industry is trying to move in.
This is the text of the motion
Lancashire County Council notes:
- That in May this year Ministers outlined a proposal in a Written Ministerial Statement to redefine non-hydraulic fracturing shale gas exploration applications as permitted development and to redefine large scale shale gas production sites as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects, thus removing any local authority control and community involvement in decision-making.
- That the Government consultation on these proposals is expected to begin during the middle of July 2018.
- That on 5 July 2018, a report by the cross-party Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee warned the Government against its proposal to bring fracking applications under the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) regime, concluding that Mineral Planning Authorities, which in Lancashire is the County Council, were best placed to understand the local area and how fracking could best take place.
- That the above report said the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects regime was unlikely to speed up the application process for fracking.
Lancashire County Council is committed to the principles of localism and the involvement of local communities in decisions that affect their environment, their health and safety and their well-being.
Lancashire County Council believes:
- That moving decisions about fracking, which have huge implications for local communities, to a national level would contradict the principles of localism.
- That ‘Permitted Development’ – the category of planning that the government wants to move Shale gas exploration drilling into – which was designed for developments with low environmental impacts, is an inappropriate category for drilling with such wide-reaching implications for local communities and climate change.
- That bringing fracking applications under the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects regime will be harmful to local communities.
- That local authorities are best placed to continue to make decisions throughout the planning process for shale gas exploration drilling, appraisal and production.
Lancashire County Council resolves:
- To respond to the forthcoming government consultation with the above views.
- To share this response with Lancashire MPs and relevant government ministers.
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