Thanks to the dozens of people who have emailed me a standard letter expressing concerns about fracking. This polluting technology has no place on our small crowded island. It has no role in a world where countries are already being decimated by climate change. I’ve put forward a motion to Shropshire Council, seconded by Kevin Turley, to ask it to lobby for local control of fracking planning applications.
The standard email was triggered by an article in the Telegraph. This revealed that energy secretary Amber Rudd, communities secretary Greg Clark and environment chief Liz Truss wrote to George Osborne last summer. They requested that fracking should to be brought into the Planning Act 2008 regime for national infrastructure projects. That would means that applications would not be determined locally but by the planning inspectorate in Bristol. We would lose all local control.
We are not expecting many fracking applications in Shropshire (but see Dudleston) and none in the Ludlow area. But I think it is a point of principle that decisions about planning are made locally. It is duplicitous that government ministers are in the process of ensuring that decisions on wind farms are made by local councils, while at the same time debating centralising decisions on fracking.
With the support of independent councillor Kevin Turley, I have proposed a motion at next Thursday’s council meeting. We want the council to lobby MPs and the government to make the case that decisions on fracking should to continue to be made locally. The motion reads:
Ministers are reported to be lobbying to bring planning applications for fracking within the Planning Act 2008 regime for nationally significant infrastructure projects. This would mean any application for exploration or extraction within Shropshire would be determined by a Secretary of State in Westminster on the advice of a planning inspector in Bristol.
Shropshire Council opposes any move to make decisions on shale oil and gas extraction outside our county.
The Council will write to ministers to make an unequivocal statement that it believes that decisions on planning applications for shale oil and gas extraction must be made by local planning authorities. The Council will also enlist the help of county MPs to in making the Council’s view known to ministers.