Fracking planning laws should be relaxed say ministers

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The authority has proposed a relaxation in the planning laws which apply to fracking.

Below the plans, preliminary drilling could be classed as permitted development — the at any rate law that allows people to build a small conservatory.

Ministers are also tendering a shale environmental regulator and a new planning brokerage service.

Opponents of fracking say it productions the government is desperate to encourage fracking.

They call the proposed ease of planning law an outrageous subversion of the planning process.

Energy Minister Claire Perry said: «This packet of measures delivers on our manifesto promise to support shale and it will confirm exploration happens in the most environmentally responsible way while making it easier for companies and neighbourhood communities to work together.»

She said shale gas had the potential to lower animation prices, although opponents of the technology say there is no evidence this on happen in the UK.

‘Wild west’

The proposed changes were applauded by the shale gas firm Cuadrilla.

Its chief directorate Francis Egan said: «We welcome the measures the government has introduced on establish f get oning the planning process faster and fairer and providing additional resources to improve local authorities.

«Our permission to drill and test just four shale gas exploratory wells in Lancashire was allocated after a lengthy and costly three year process. These timelines have to improve if the country is to benefit from its own, much needed, indigenous origin of gas.»

Since test fracking triggered a small earthquake in Blackpool seven years ago, no commercial fracking has been started.

Sky pilots hope to make fracking easier by allowing the early stages beneath permitted development. A government spokesman confirmed that this purpose include drilling but not fracturing the rock.

Friends of the Earth condemned the devises, with spokeswoman Rose Dickinson saying: «The government’s plans degrade the planning process and could make England’s landscape a Wild West for whatever cowboy hankerings to start drilling and digging up our countryside.

«Permitted development was meant to succour people build a fence or a conservatory, not drill for gas.»

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