Proposal to let Government overrule local democracy on fracking ‘frightening’, says Green MEP

Responding to the news that the Communities and Local Government Select Committee is seeking submissions on whether planning applications for fracking in England should be decided by a government minister, rather than local councils, Keith Taylor MEP, Vice President of the Local Government Association, said:

“The mere suggestion that the pursuit of environmentally-destructive fracking should be an excuse for Government Ministers to ride roughshod over local residents and their representatives is frighteningly anti-democratic. It’s shameful enough that the Tories, in a bid to fast-track, fracking have already done this in places such as Lancashire. The Government is making a total sham of any pretence of localism.”

“In the face of overwhelming local and national opposition across England, the Government is looking for permission to avoid scrutiny over its plans to industrialise our precious countryside – a move all the evidence says is a blatant act of climate sabotage.”

“Just last month, two reports from scientists at NASA and academics at the University of Manchester revealed that not only is the fracking industry one of the least sustainable it is also the most responsible for the accelerating global emissions of climate-destructive methane. Methane is more than 80 times more damaging to our climate than CO2 emissions. At the same time, the UK Government’s own Climate Change Committee concluded that unless immediate action was taken Britain will fail to meet its legally-binding climate agreements by a huge margin.”

“But this isn’t a done deal; I’m calling on the Communities and Local Government Select Committee to stand up for local democracy. I’m especially urging the Labour members of the committee to put into action their Party’s apparent U-turn on support for fracking – by opposing this move as strongly as the campaigners and communities on the ground relying on their support.”

“As a Green, I will always stand by local campaigners and residents fighting to protect their environment, their communities and the planet. As a Vice President of the LGA, I will be fighting tooth and nail to protect the integrity of local democracy.”