Fracking. Let our communities decide!
I support Fossil Free UK’s campaign to let communities decide about fracking in their area. Removing the important step of requiring fracking companies to apply for planning permission to conduct exploratory fracking is misguided. It gives elected representative and local communities chance to review what they need in their area. This step must be kept. That is why I signed Fossil Free UK’s open letter to Claire Perry MP, which you can read below.
Dear Claire Perry MP,
The UK government has proposed changes to planning rules that would allow exploratory drilling for shale gas to be considered “permitted development”, removing the need for fracking companies to apply for planning permission.
The current planning framework for shale gas provides an important regulatory process for the industry, offering necessary checks and balances by local authorities who best understand the circumstances in their areas. Crucially, it also allows communities directly affected a say in how, and whether, shale gas exploration proceeds in their neighbourhoods.
We believe that applying permitted development to exploratory shale gas drilling represents a distortion of its intention and is a misuse of the planning system. Permitted Development was originally intended to be used to speed up planning decisions on small developments – like garden sheds or erecting a fence – not drilling for shale gas.
As elected representatives of our communities, we the undersigned call for the withdrawal of this proposal, and respect for the right of communities to make decisions on shale gas activities in their areas through the local planning system.
Jared O’Mara MP