Earlier in the summer the Government launched a consultation on two controversial proposals relating to fracking. Both would have the effect of fast-tracking fracking in the UK.
The first proposal would allow shale-gas companies to drill exploratory wells without the need to apply for planning permission. This is called ‘permitted development’ and normally refers to small-scale, uncontroversial projects like conservatories and garden sheds. The proposal would therefore stretch this definition and prevent local planning authorities from examining and deciding on drilling plans by the fracking companies. Exploratory wells would proliferate.
The second proposal is to define fracking as ‘nationally significant infrastructure’ so it would go through a similar planning consent process to airports and power stations. This means that final decisions on fracking applications would be taken by the Government and not local planning authorities.
Many interpret this as an attempt by the Government to take control away from local planning authorities, who naturally have the best knowledge of local circumstances and local opinion. Projects could easily be approved despite strong local opposition.
Many bodies, including CPRE and the National Trust, oppose the Government’s proposals.
The leader of North Yorkshire County Council has written to the Government to express his serious concerns.
Ryedale District Council has just voted to oppose the Government proposals, as reported here:

The consultation period runs until 25 October. If you wish to comment on the proposals, you could write to our MP, Kevin Hollinrake, at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA, or by email at . In addition, you could also write to the Secretary of State, Greg Clark, at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET, or by email at .
The Government’s consultation documents can be found at and

Independent journalism on the issues:

Arguments against the proposals can be found at