Keith Taylor, the Green MEP for the South East, has welcomed a report by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee which 'trashes' Ministers' proposals to fast-track fracking by taking decision-making powers away from local authorities.
The report finds that there is little evidence the plans would succeed on their own terms and overwhelming evidence they would exacerbate distrust between communities and the oil and gas industry while undermining the very principle of local democracy.
Mr Taylor, a vocal opponent of unconventional oil and gas extraction and Vice President of the Local Government Association, submitted a response to the Government's consultation on the proposals last month and wrote to the Business Secretary Greg Clark MP outlining his concerns. The senior Green politician labelled the plans 'anti-democratic and evidence-free.'
Responding to today's report, Mr Taylor, a member of the European Parliament's Environment Committee and European Chair of the Climate Parliament, said:
"I'm happy to see MPs have recognised the blindingly obvious; cutting local authorities out of the planning process in order to fast-track fracking is ruinous for both democracy and our planet. It's vitally important that the Government heeds this latest warning. Sacrificing local democracy to pursue an evidence-free policy aimed at pleasing their friends in the oil and gas industry, was never a good idea."
"The fact that Ministers believe the pursuit of climate-destructive unconventional oil and gas extraction is an excuse to ride roughshod over local residents and their representatives is frightening enough. But in places like Lancashire, it's not just belief; it's already happened. The Government is making a mockery of its commitment to 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."
"Earlier this year, 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 is clear that unless immediate action is taken Britain will fail to meet its legally-binding climate agreements by a huge margin.”
"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.”