Fracking and the Attack on Democracy
Recent leaks from within the government show that it is intended that future decisions on when and where to frack will be taken away from local planners and handed to unelected ‘planning inspectors’.
I order to get round local opposition to these controversial practices the Government now has the Infrastructure Act. Within the terms of this legislation it is possible to deem fracking and associated methods (such as coal bed methane and underground coal gasification) to be ‘projects of national significance’. As such, they can then be regarded as above and beyond the scope and competence of local planning authorities.
It is precisely at this level that communities are able to exert pressure and to gain purchase in order to try and prevent damage to their local environment. Because the Conservatives are aware that most people are relaxed about fracking until it arrives on their doorstep, they are seeking to ensure that local opposition is neutralised. This, in spite of David Cameron’s explicit assurances that communities would be allowed a say in what happens their area.
Anyone reading this post should be under no illusion. This industry presents a threat to both the environment and democracy.Posted on: February 4, 2016