Councillor calls on KCC to reject central government fracking free-for-all

October 15, 2018

On Thursday at full council, our Kent County Councillor, Martin Whybrow, is bringing a motion calling on KCC to reject central government’s attempt to steamroller through fracking by removing local government decision-making.

As fracking commences today in Lancashire, despite huge popular opposition, the potential opening of large swathes of the country to this fossil fuel extraction must be resisted. Central government is proposing to water down current planning rules around mineral extraction so that decision-making will reside with Westminster, rather than with local authorities.

Martin comments: “I believe that everyone in local government should resist another chipping away at local decision-making. Those who are best able to decide on the merits of planning applications are local councils.”

While desperation to kick-start fracking is clearly behind central government’s proposals, the changes would also hand over decision-making for other forms of extraction. 
“Kent County Council believes that local plans, local planning and local democratic decisions, including control of local mineral and fossil fuel development, should remain with local authorities. The council rejects the continued centralisation of local decision-making at the expense of local determination.
 
As such, KCC rejects central government’s proposal, via a Written Ministerial Statement (WMS), for the exploration phase of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to be allowed under Permitted Development (PD), thereby removing the need for planning permission. KCC also rejects the proposal to bring the production phase of fracking under Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP), to be decided centrally by government and the planning inspectorate, thus further removing decision-making from local councils.
 
Accordingly, the Council requests the Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transport & Waste to respond to the government consultation by rejecting the changes proposed for PD and NSIP as inappropriate and with the view that local Minerals Planning Authorities should retain local control and primacy for all planning decisions at all stages for all types of oil and gas exploration.”

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