UK to fast-track fracking applications
The UK government is attempting to fast-track fracking applications through the planning system.
It says the plans that will ensure local people have a strong say over the development of shale exploration in their area – but will ensure communities and the industry benefit from a swift process for developing safe and suitable new sites.
Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said: “As a One Nation Government, we are backing the safe development of shale gas because it’s good for jobs giving hardworking people and their families more financial security, good for our energy security and part of our plan to decarbonise the economy. We need more secure, home grown energy supplies – and shale gas must play a part in that.”
The news was greeted with dismay by shale gas protesters. Friends of the Earth planning adviser Naomi Luhde-Thompson said: “Bulldozing fracking applications through the planning system, against the wishes of local people and councils, will simply fan the flames of mistrust and opposition.
“Local authorities have been following the rules. These changes are being made because the Government doesn’t agree with the democratic decisions councils have been making.
“It’s no wonder fracking’s unpopular when even the frackers admit that it is unlikely to cut energy prices. It also threatens house prices and the environment of local communities and will cause more climate change.
“Rather than riding roughshod over local democracy to suit the interests of a dirty industry, ministers should champion real solutions to the energy challenges we face, such as boosting the UK’s huge renewable power potential and cutting energy waste.”
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