The Government has quietly launched two public consultations about changing planning regulations to encourage fracking, very much a local issue; see here for summaries of gas exploration companies’ reports on local ‘unconventional’ gas resources.
Timsbury Environment Group discussed the issue at its last meeting and hopes to put some more detail in the October Timsbury Letter. The deadline for both consultations is 25th October, giving little time to react. Here is some preliminary detail.
The first consultation looks at proposals for whether non-hydraulic exploratory drilling should be treated as ‘permitted development’ – a planning tool only for circumstances where developments would have no unreasonable local impact. This proposal 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.
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, the Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England judges, would severely reduce local control. It would take away local councils’ decision-making powers and ability to reflect their communities’ wishes.’
The two consultation documents can be found here:
In both cases responses must be received by 25th Oct.