Fracking: Environmental campaigners challenge new government planning framework

Friends of the Earth say it will make it "virtually impossible” for councils to stop local fracking schemes.

Friends of the Earth has filed a court claim against the government over the recently revised National Planning Policy Framework, which they say makes it “virtually impossible” for councils to stop local fracking schemes.

The NGO has previously said the rules require authorities to plan for shale extraction, which gives “the go-ahead for fracking” and also makes it difficult for councils to refuse schemes they and people in the community oppose.

They also say the Framework means “harsh rules for the development of wind energy” which “could block new schemes from coming forward” and that it fails to ban coal, thus keeping the door open for future coal development.

The revised National Planning Policy Framework was published on 24th July, the last day of parliament. It shapes various policies across England, including planning permission and land use.  Friends of the Earth wants to force the government to do a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) to ask the public about this new framework, which could lead to changes to it.

Talking to the Guardian, who broke the story, William Rundle from Friends of the Earth said they are “concerned that the government pays lip service to leaving the environment in a better state for future generations but in reality does the opposite. Giving the green light to climate-wrecking Heathrow expansion and publishing a new national framework for development in England without any assessment of its major environmental implications begs the question of what happened to good governance.

This is why we are taking the government to court – to make sure that the government does undertake an environmental assessment of the new framework, so that the public are told about any environmental damage it could cause, and for the government to take that environmental assessment into account to avoid damage in the first place.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward’s weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment – and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.

Like this article? Left Foot Forward relies on support from readers to sustain our progressive journalism. Can you become a supporter for £5 a month?

Leave a Reply