South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats are joining thousands of people across the country in opposing the Conservative Government’s proposals to allow fracking companies “permitted development rights” to carry out “non-hydraulic fracturing shale gas exploration” – meaning that they could start drilling without so much as a planning application.
Local Liberal Democrat Planning Spokesperson, Cllr Pat Hockey, said:
“Permitted development rights were originally designed to allow minor developments such as fences and sheds to be put up without a planning application. It beggars belief that the Conservative Government would attempt to abuse this system to allow 100ft drilling equipment to be erected without any say from elected councillors and local people.
“This is yet another shabby attempt by the Conservatives to tear up local democracy and put big business before local people. We have written to the Government to express our strong opposition to these plans and over 300,000 people so far have signed the petition to say the same.”
Local Lib Dem campaigner for Dodington, Louise Harris, said:
“It’s obvious why the Conservatives want to give fracking companies this license to drill without a planning application. They know that people up and down the country oppose fracking and the environmental damage it brings with it, so they’re simply taking away the public’s right to have their say.
“These new rules may only be for “exploratory drilling” but there can be no doubt that this is with the aim of identifying new sites for full-scale commercial fracking down the road. As a country, we should be moving away from dirty fossil fuels, not drilling for new sources on our doorstep. If I am elected in Thursday’s by-election I will be introducing a motion to Council calling on South Gloucestershire Council to oppose the Government’s ludicrous plans.”