Take action to let local communities decide on fracking
11 August 2018
The Government is currently consulting on two proposals (until October 2018) which would further erode our crumbling democracy. The first proposal is to allow shale gas exploration to go ahead without a local planning application. This effectively puts potential fracking sites in the same planning category as a garden shed - i.e. 'permitted development', over which the local authority has no say and no control. A second proposal is to categorise shale gas production sites as 'Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects' which means that permission to extract gas by fracking would be decided by the Government, not by local authorities.
Please take as many of the following actions as you can, to help stop these terrible proposals before they are adopted:
1) Sign the 38 degrees/CPRE petition ('Don't fast track fracking')
2) Sign the Friends of the Earth petition ('Let communities decide')
3) Write to your MP
4) Write to your local Councillors asking them to object to being cut out of decisions that will affect the communities they represent.
5) Sign up via 38 degrees if you are willing to join with others to request a meeting with your MP to talk about fracking.
When writing to MPs and councillors, you could make some of the following points:
- the mass industrialisation of our countryside and rural communities should not be able to take place without local people even being able to comment on that process;
- you support localism, and believe that decisions should be made at a local level on developments that will have significant local impacts;
- fracking applications should be determined by local planning authorities in accordance with existing planning laws and guidance;
- you believe that local people and their elected representatives should oversee any process which will decide whether a particular development in their countryside is appropriate;
- you are particularly concerned about the local impacts of fracking on public health and safety, water supplies, air quality, farming and tourism, traffic, earthquakes, et
Here's a round up of a few significant things that have happened in the last few weeks:
- The drilling rig has been removed from PNR, signaling that drilling of two wells has been completed (which means that the next stage is fracking ...).
- On the last day of parliament before the summer recess, Greg Clarke gave Cuadrilla final permission to go ahead with fracking at their first well at PNR. Cuadrilla have indicated that they plan to do this in September. They have also applied for permission to begin fracking at their second well.
- A survey has found that 65% of Conservative councillors believe local authorities should have the power to grant final planning consent for shale gas extraction - contrary to the Government's proposals to treat fracking sites as permitted development and national infrastructure. The figure rises to 80% in areas where licenses have been issued for shale gas exploration.
- Lancaster's Green County Councillor Gina Dowding successfully proposed a motion to Lancashire County Council asking County Councillors to respond to the Government's consultation about permitted development, with a clear call to keep decisions about fracking at a local level. The Green Party is now encouraging other Councils across the country to pass similar motions.
- A group of senior geologists has called for an immediate moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the area of Surrey affected by 12 earthquakes in the past four months.
- Campaigners sadly lost their high court challenge to Cuadrilla's injunction against certain types of protest at PNR, which will remain in place until 1 June 2020. The injunction covers: trespass at the site; unlawful obstruction of the site entrance and adjacent A583, including lock-ons, climbing onto lorries and slow walking; unlawful disruption of eight suppliers including Cuadrilla’s lawyers, and 11 Cuadrilla companies. The injunction specifically excludes the weekly 'White Wednesday' protests, led by women.
- However, several people have defied the injunction and locked-on at PNR in recent weeks. All power to them!
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