These proposals to fast-track fracking threaten democracy, climate and countryside.
Claire Perry MP, the Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, has been told to drop controversial planning proposals related to the shale gas industry in England by activists in the UK Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC) - which aims to provide the youth voice on climate change in the UK.
The government announced plans to fast-track planning applications to support the development of the shale gas industry in May of this year. It is hoped that the proposals will reduce dependence on imports of natural gas.
However, research undertaken by Cardiff Business School, commissioned by Friends of the Earth, casts serious doubt on the UK’s fracking potential.
The research showed that to replace just 50 percent of gas imports, the industry would require a new well to be drilled and fracked every day for 15 days, amounting to just over 6000 in total. Conservative estimates that accounted for wells performing below expectations put the total at over 16,500.
Sebastian Kelly of the Let Communities Decide campaign said: “These proposals to fast-track fracking threaten democracy, climate and countryside. We call on the government to respect all three and withdraw their proposal, and not offer fracking companies the green light to drill at will.”
In a letter sent to Claire Perry MP, the UKYCC not only called for the controversial proposals to be dropped, but highlighted the incompatibility of fracking with the UK’s climate commitments.
Jake Woodier, part of the UKYCC campaign said: "Youth voices are too often left out of the discussion when it comes to climate change.
"Fast-tracking fracking proposals not only subverts local democracy and the ability of local communities to have a say on what is permitted where they live, but is also completely incompatible with a clean, safe environment for ourselves and future generations.
"We are the ones that will bear the brunt of climate inaction, and, put simply, we need to invest in clean energy and end our fossil fuel addiction before it’s too late."
Rose Dickinson of Friends of the Earth recently told the Independent: "It’s clear that affected communities’ wishes are being sacrificed so that fracking companies can more easily drill. Significantly, the fact also remains that fracking is fundamentally incompatible with avoiding climate chaos.”
The government is facing revolt by grassroots. Almost two in three (65 percent) Tory councillors in areas where licenses have been granted said the final decision should be made by local councils rather than central government. This would give local communities the power to block shale gas exploration in their area.
With such a high level of opposition coming across the board, from the Conservative grassroots to a coalition of campaigning organisations, it is clear the Government must ditch its controversial planning proposals.
Marianne Brooker is a contributing editor for The Ecologist. This article is based on a press release from the UKYCC.