Parliament to debate plans to fast track frack drilling

Fylde MP Mark Menzies
Fylde MP Mark Menzies

MPs are set to debate a proposed change in the planning rules on fracking.

The Conservative Government wants to make shale gas drilling a permitted development, which would mean firms would not need to get planning permission to set up a drill site like the one at Preston New Road.

Anti-fracking protesters at the Preston New Road site

Anti-fracking protesters at the Preston New Road site

However, planning permission would still be needed to carry out actual fracking.

The move is controversial and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England has a petition of 300,000 signatures against it.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies called the debate over concerns that communities need to have a say.

He said: “I called the debate in Parliament because I am opposed to the move to give hydraulic fracturing permitted development rights.

“To do so would stop local communities raising extremely important issues, including traffic management, which will vary vastly from site to site and cannot be dealt with one piece of coverall legislation.

“It is vital these issues are heard at each and every application and it is very important the Government is aware of the strength of feeling in Parliament on the matter.”

Other Tory MPs have warned it could turn communities against the party.

Daniel Carey-Dawes, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “The Government claims to champion localism, but its proposals to fast-track fracking fly in the face of this rhetoric.

“These 300,000 signatures represent a level of opposition that cannot and must not be ignored.”

See also: Fracking halted again as biggest earthquake yet is recorded
Dorothy Kelk from Central Lancashire Friends of the Earth said: "The government's proposals to fast-track fracking are hugely unpopular including with Conservative MPs and councils. Instead of silencing communities and sacrificing localism for the benefit of fossil fuel corporations, the government should listen to communities and their own party's MPs and Councillors and scrap these dangerous plans.

"At a time when the world's top climate scientists have warned us we need to take urgent action to stop dangerous climate change and move away from fossil fuels, the last thing we need is new unconventional sources of fossil fuels like shale gas, which are as unnecessary as they are unpopular."