For Immediate Release, Monday 8th October 2018
Campaign group Frack Off London have assembled a 4 metre high fracking rig outside the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in opposition to proposals that could result in exploratory drilling without local planning permission.
Westminster, Monday 8th October – Campaign group Frack Off London have assembled a 4 metre model of a fracking rig outside the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The group are opposing proposed major changes to planning rules that would enable fracking companies to undertake exploratory drilling without local planning permission.
Lorraine Inglis, of Frack Off London said: “The idea that these proposals could be used to force the hugely unpopular and highly contentious fracking industry onto communities is an outrageous affront to local democracy. These changes could result in the industrialisation of our countryside and it is crucial that local councils and communities have the final say on whether this polluting industry is allowed into their local area or not.”
The creative stunt is part of a ‘Let Communities Decide’ national week of action against the the proposals and comes at a time when fracking is imminent at Cuadrilla’s site in Lancashire. The Government consultation on the proposals ends on October 25th and a growing number of Conservative and Labour MPs have already spoken out against the proposed changes.
Sebastian Kelly, Let Communities Decide Campaigner at 350.org said: “These proposals represent a desperate attempt to force a failing industry onto communities. Local people understand the risks posed by fracking to the health of their families, countryside and the climate, and must be able to influence the planning process to express these concerns. The Government must listen to the growing concerns from locals, Councillors and MPs and immediately drop these undemocratic and reckless proposals.”
The proposals involve granting companies permission to undertake exploratory drilling for shale gas as part of ‘permitted development’, a type of planning right that doesn’t require permission from the local authority and was originally designed for householders looking to make small changes such as extensions and putting up garden sheds.
On September 26th, 3 environmental activists were sentenced to prison for up to 16 months after delaying works at Cuadrilla’s Lancashire site for 3 days by climbing on top of lorries carrying key fracking equipment.
Notes to editors
- Frack Off London are a campaign group raising public awareness about the risks of fracking – an unconventional form of fossil fuel extraction – to the countryside, climate and human health. They support local communities affected by fracking.
- The Government’s consultation on the proposals is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/permitted-development-for-shale-gas-exploration
- ‘Permitted Development’ allows “householders to improve and extend their homes without the need to apply for planning permission where that would be out of proportion with the impact of works carried out”- https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/permitted-development-rights-for-householders-technical-guidance
- Fracking has been effectively banned in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and New York State, following concerns about impacts on water quality, air pollution and health. The Labour Party have committed to banning fracking if they win a general election – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37470549