Fracking has been widely opposed since it was introduced in the UK and progress has been slow due to objections, protests and legal challenges from all quarters.
These plans are the government’s attempt to speed the process up and bypass potential blockages. But in doing so, the plans would fail to scrutinise properly an industry that poses huge risks to both the countryside and environment.
CPRE, along with the 19 other signatories to the letter, is urging the government to ‘drop its proposals that risk opening the door to fracking on an industrial scale’.
‘We write to you as a matter of urgency, regarding the Government’s proposals to fast-track fracking. These plans would disregard the wishes of local communities, remove decision making powers from local councils and strip the requirement for fracking companies to apply for planning permission for shale gas exploration. If approved, these proposals would be as shocking as they would be harmful.
‘Local councils are elected by local people, for local people, to make decisions on issues that affect their local area. Simplifying the planning process for non-hydraulic exploration so that communities’ views are not considered – and have to hand over powers to have the final say on shale production to a Minister – is a complete perversion of local democracy, and will undermine the fundamental principles of our planning system.
‘The risks posed by injecting chemicals into the earth in order to remove carbon emitting fossil fuels are well known, and could have a disastrous effect on our countryside, landscapes and environment. There has been wide-spread public opposition to fracking –everywhere it has been proposed it has been vehemently opposed. Now we, the voice of the environmental sector, are calling on the Government to drop its proposals that risk opening the door to fracking on an industrial scale, and threaten the health and tranquillity of our green and pleasant land. Far from removing local people’s voices from the discussion, it is imperative that they are given the opportunity to have their say.’