The government is proposing massive changes to planning rules that could give the fracking industry a green light to cover swathes of the country in drills.
If these changes went ahead, fracking companies could start drilling across the country without local planning applications, threatening communities and the climate in the process.
This flies in the face of local democracy and threatens to slash community involvement in decision-making. We can’t allow fracking to be forced on communities, and our countryside to be turned into a gasfield.
The government is consulting on these plans until the end of October – that gives us a short window of opportunity to get organised, and show that we won’t allow our democracy to be trampled on.
As the consultation draws to a close, it’s time to amp up the pressure.
This October 8th – 14th, join the Let Communities Decide Week of Local Action.
During the Week of Action, hundreds or people across the country will be taking action in their local areas. Find an event near you, or organise one yourself. Check out the action guide.
These planning proposals are an outrageous affront to the principles of local democracy and community consultation.
From road congestion to environmental impacts, to policing costs; councils are the ones who have to deal with the consequences of fracking – they should have a say in whether it goes ahead. It is councils who are best placed to make informed decisions on planning, and to represent communities’ needs and interests.
‘Permitted Development’ – the category of planning that the government wants to move drilling into – was designed for sheds, fences and other minor home improvements. The idea that it would be used to force through an industry with such wide-reaching implications is simply unacceptable.
Fracking poses risks to our land, water, communities and climate. Allowing the unchecked expansion of such a destructive industry would have catastrophic impacts.
Currently, over 17 thousand square kilometres of England are covered by oil and gas exploration licences, and if the industry gets its way it could mean drilling over 6000 wells in just 15 years – that’s more than one every day. This could add up to the wholesale industrialisation of the countryside.
The government and industry have already lost the argument on fracking. It’s unpopular, risky, and increasingly financially unviable – it’s already been stopped in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and council after council have stood against development in their areas. These planning proposals are a desperate last ditch attempt to kickstart the industry in the UK – and it’s communities who will pay the cost.
Fracking risks contaminating groundwater and there are serious concerns about risks to public health – with leading medical experts stating that “the arguments against fracking on public health grounds are overwhelming.” It was banned from New York state in 2014 following a two year study into health impacts.
It’s crucial that we stop the industry from getting a foot in the door and drills in the ground.