The Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, today urged David Cameron not to overrule the local refusal of Cuadrilla’s fracking plans in Lancashire. Anything that prevented local communities from rejecting fracking would be “fundamentally undemocratic”, she said.
In reply to a question by the Lancaster and Fleetwood MP, Cat Smith, he pointedly did not promise that refusals, like those in Lancashire over the past week, would not be overturned by government. Instead, he said: “Personally, I hope that, over time, unconventional gas sites will go ahead, whether in Lancashire or elsewhere, because I want our country to exploit all the natural resources we have.”
Cuadrilla is expected to appeal against the refusals of planning permission to frack at both Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road in the Fylde area of Lancashire. The Secretary of State for Local Government can call in appeals. Instead of a planning inspector deciding the appeal, the inspector writes a report with a recommendation and the decision is made by the Secretary of State.
Dr Lucas said: “David Cameron should respect local decision-making on fracking, and make a firm commitment that this week’s decision by Lancashire County Council to reject fracking should not be overturned.”
“Fracking poses a serious threat to local people, and would utterly undermine our efforts to combat climate change. It should not go ahead in Sussex, or elsewhere in the UK.”
“Any move to prevent communities from rejecting fracking on their doorstep would be fundamentally undemocratic.”
Brenda Pollack, of Friends of the Earth, said: “It is good news that David Cameron recognised that decision-making on fracking should be made by local authorities. However, he now needs to make a commitment that Government will not impose fracking on any community in the UK.
“Fracking’s unpopular wherever it’s proposed and it is time for the Government to drop plans to open up vast swathes of the country to possible fracking.”