Derbyshire says no to government proposals on fracking

Credit: Calin Tatu

The government is currently consulting on 2 changes to the planning system.

One is to make decisions on shale gas exploration under what is known as permitted development rights – when planning permission is granted without the developer having to submit an application for planning permission.

The other is that decisions on shale gas production are taken out of the hands of local councils and made nationally.

Derbyshire County Council has rejected the idea of these changes. Councillor Simon Spencer said: “We are against both of these proposals from the government.

“We cannot see how you could just let through a proposal to explore for shale gas. There are many things to consider when looking at an application to do this and we know from recent experience that there is considerable local anxiety about these types of operations.

“We are also against the proposals to take the decision on shale gas production out of local control and include these decisions in something called the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project regime. This means that planning inspectors and the Secretary of State would make the decision, not local councillors.

“Both of these 2 changes would see local people being denied an opportunity to have their say, and this is unacceptable.

“We are not the only ones against these proposals. The House of Commons Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee looked at them earlier this year and said that neither of the 2 options the government were consulting on should be introduced. This is because they take the decision out of local hands.

“We will be making our views known to the government in a full response shortly.”