The majority of Tory councillors (80%) believe fracking companies should be required to submit a planning application before drilling, according to the results of a new poll.
The survey by the Campaign to Protect Rural England and Friends of the Earth also found 65% of Conservative councillors said local authorities should have the power to grant final planning consent.
The findings have been published as the Government announced plans to consult on whether fracking should be considered as ‘permitted development’ to avoid companies having to apply for planning permission.
‘It is clear that the government does not have the backing of its own local councillors for its proposals to fast-track fracking,’ said Daniel Carey-Dawes, senior infrastructure campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
‘These plans erode the principles of localism – they diminish local communities’ democratic powers and undermine the fundamentals of the local planning system – and councillors recognise this.’
Rose Dickinson, Friends of the Earth campaigner, added: ‘Permitted development was meant to help people carry out small-scale things like putting up a garden shed, not drilling for gas. And this poll shows that Conservative councillors overwhelmingly agree.’