Shale Gas Development

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:05 pm on 31st October 2018.

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Photo of Tim Farron Tim Farron Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 5:05 pm, 31st October 2018

Classifying fracking rigs under the banner of permitted development is a subversion of the planning process and therefore a subversion of local democracy. Permitted development was created for conservatories, small extensions and outhouses, none of which to the best of my knowledge have ever caused an earth tremor, yet we see fracking rigs potentially being given rights under permitted development, which is a cynical disgrace.

The subversion of the planning process works both ways, however. The proposed gas turbines at Old Hutton in my constituency are just a few hundred yards away from the local primary school. The development is just a fraction below the scale needed for national consideration. As we know, developers often do that to put pressure on a local planner, a local authority or local communities who might fear saying no because they cannot afford the cost of the appeal. When we are trying to tackle climate change and are on the cusp of catastrophic climate change, we need to ensure that all fossil fuels remain in the ground and back local authorities that oppose such things as the Old Hutton gas turbines and fracking.