The Government yesterday launched a consultation on plans to allow drilling for shale gas to go ahead without planning permission.
The controversial plans, which were first proposed in May, would allow shale exploration — also known as ‘fracking’ — to go ahead without the permission of local authorities.
‘With the Government committed to ensuring that strong safeguards are in place, any new permitted development right would have to abide by both environmental and site protection laws and would not apply to exploratory drilling in sensitive areas (such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty),’ the consultation states.
Responding to the plans when they were first announced, the Local Government Association (LGA) warned against bypassing the ‘locally democratic planning system’.
‘We oppose any proposal for shale exploration to be allowed to bypass the locally democratic planning system through permitted development or national planning inspectors,’ said Cllr Judith Blake, the LGA’s environment spokesperson.
‘We are clear that it should be up to local communities to decide whether or not to host fracking operations in their areas.’