Who’s saying what on government plans to fast-track fracking?

pnr 180724 Ros Wills 8

Cuadrilla’s shale gas drilling rig at Preston New Road, 24 July 2018. Photo: Ros Wills

This post is tracking politician comments, council votes and petition signatures on government proposals to change the planning rules for shale gas developments in England.

A consultation opened in July on the proposals, which, if approved, would make non-fracking schemes permitted development. This would avoid the need for a planning application. Under the proposals, major shale gas production schemes would be classified as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. This would give decision-making to a government minister, bypassing local councils.

The consultation on permitted development rights and Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects ends on 25 October 2018.

We’ll be updating this post regularly. Please let us know about any council votes or comments made by MPs on this issue. You can contact DrillOrDrop here 

Last updated 30/10/2018 


180912 WestHall Planning debate Kevin Barron

Sir Kevin Barron MP. Westminster Hall Shale Planning debate, 12/9/18. Source: Parliament TV

Sir Kevin Barron, Labour, Rother Valley

Raised concerns about fracking near abandoned coal mines during a Westminster Hall debate on the government’s proposals, 12/9/2018 Link

Speaking at a Frack Free United fringe meeting on the proposals at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool at 12.45pm on 23/9/2018

Ben Bradley, Conservative, Mansfield and Warsop

Told the FT:

“My concern with this permitted development proposals is that residents ….will feel even more dictated to by government”, 18/9/2018 Link

He told The Times:

“Allowing [test drilling] as permitted development potentially could mean they could install that infrastructure at the end of your garden without you being able to have a say. I think it’s wrong”, 20/9/2018 Link

Ronnie Campbell, Labour, Blyth Valley

Signed House of Commons Early Day Motion opposing changes to planning rules in the National Planning Policy Framework, 12/9/2018 Link

Jim Cunningham, Labour, Coventry South

Signed House of Commons Early Day Motion opposing changes to planning rules in the National Planning Policy Framework, 10/9/2018 Link

Thangam Debbonaire, Labour, Bristol West

Told a constituent she would “oppose the government’s current proposals on this issue at every opportunity”. 18/9/2018

Paul Farrelly, Labour, Newcastle-under-Lyme

Signed House of Commons Early Day Motion opposing changes to planning rules in the National Planning Policy Framework, 13/9/2018 Link

James Firth, Labour MP for Bury North

Told the Energy Minister, during a Westminster Hall debate, that the proposals struck “at the heart of a community’s ability to determine its future”. He urged the minister to “take seriously the voice of the people on this issue”, 12/9/2018. Link

Yvonne Fovargue, Labour, Makerfield

Quoted in Wigan Today:

“The proposals would ride roughshod over local democracy and put drilling in the same category under planning law as building a small extension to a property. It would remove the important link between fracking applications and local plans and be harmful to the proposals of localism. 26/7/2018 Link

180912 WestHall Planning debate Ruth George

Ruth George MP. Westminster Hall Shale Planning debate, 12/9/18. Source: Parliament TV

Ruth George, Labour, High Peak

Raised concerns about the consultation process on the government proposals during a debate in Westminster Hall, 12/9/2018 Link

Helen Grant, Conservative, Maidstone and The Weald

Wrote on her website:

“Responsibility for planning applications for onshore oil and gas activities, including for the exploration of shale gas, will be solely with local authorities.

“Fracking is not something that will be imposed by central government and it is right that local decision makers are involved in the process.” 16/8/2018 Link

Mary Glindon, Labour, North Tyneside

Signed House of Commons Early Day Motion opposing changes to planning rules in the National Planning Policy Framework, 13/9/2018 Link

John Grogan, Labour, Keighley

Signed House of Commons Early Day Motion opposing changes to planning rules in the National Planning Policy Framework, 11/9/2018 Link

James Heappey, Conservative, Wells

Told a Conservative conference event about government proposals to fast-frack fracking:

“I wonder if we should look again at fracking” 2/10/2018, Link

Nick Herbert, Conservative, Arundel and South Downs

180912 WestHall Planning debate Nick Herbert

Nick Herbert MP. Westminster Hall Shale Planning debate, 12/9/18. Source: Parliament TV

Told energy minister Claire Perry, during a Westminster Hall debate, that he did not believe the government had a parliamentary majority for its proposals, 12/9/2018 Link

Wrote in the Littlehampton Gazette:

“I don’t think a major process as disruptive as drilling can be classed as permitted development which doesn’t need planning permission, akin to putting up a garden shed.” 20/9/2018 Link

Wera Hobhouse, Lib Dem, Bath

Criticised government response to Westminster Hall debate on shale gas planning changes, 12/9/2018

180912 Wea Hobhouse

Kevin Hollinrake, Conservative, Thirsk and Malton

Published his response to the consultation on his website. He said he continued to support the conclusions of the report of the House of Commons Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, published on 2 July 2018.  This said there was little to be gained from bring fracking applications under the NSIP regime or class shale gas development as permitted development.

During a Westminster Hall debate, called for clarity on whether the construction of an entire well pad would be covered by the permitted development proposals, 12/9/2018 Link

180517 Kevin Hollinrake tweet

Mike Hill, Labour, Hartlepool

Signed House of Commons Early Day Motion opposing changes to planning rules in the National Planning Policy Framework, 11/9/2018 Link

Kelvin Hopkins, Labour, Luton North

Signed House of Commons Early Day Motion opposing changes to planning rules in the National Planning Policy Framework, 12/9/2018 Link

Greg Knight, Conservative,Yorkshire East

Signed House of Commons Early Day Motion opposing changes to planning rules in the National Planning Policy Framework, 12/9/2018 Link

Opposed government proposals during a Westminster Hall debate, 12/9/2018 Link

Caroline Lucas, Green, Brighton Pavillion

Described the plans as shocking when they were announced. Quoted in the Guardian as saying:

“Britain’s fracking experiment was on life support and now the government is trying its best to shock it back into life”. 12/5/2018 Link

John Mann, Labour, Bassetlaw

Signed House of Commons Early Day Motion opposing changes to planning rules in the National Planning Policy Framework, 10/9/2018 Link

Kerry McCarthy, Labour, Bristol East

Told constituent in an email that she opposed the government proposals, 28/9/2018 Email from Kerry McCarthy 28 September 2018

Mark Menzies, Conservative, Fylde

Opposed government proposals during a Westminster Hall debate, describing them as “quite frankly bonkers”, 12/9/2018 Link

Jared O’Mara, Independent, Sheffield Hallam

Opposed the proposals and signed an open letter to the energy minister, Claire Perry. He wrote on his website:

“Removing the important step of requiring fracking companies to apply for planning permission to conduct exploratory fracking is misguided. It gives elected representatives and local communities chance to review what they need in their area. This step must be kept.” 12/9/2018 Link

Stephanie Peacock, Labour, Barnsley East

Asked Claire Perry during a Westminster Hall debate on the government proposals why her constituents, from a former mining area, should be asked to take “a huge leap of faith on behalf of fracking companies”, 12/9/2018 Link

Claire Perry, Energy Minister, Conservative, Devizes

Defended the government proposals at a Westminster Hall debate, 12/9/2018 Link

Lee Rowley, Conservative, North East Derbyshire

180912 WestHall Planning debate LeeRowley

Lee Rowley MP. Westminster Hall Shale Planning debate, 12/9/18. Source: Parliament TV

Opened a Westminster Hall debate on the government’s proposed changes and opposed the proposals, 12/9/2018 Link

Told the FT:

“I know how divisive they are and how important the involvement of local residents is. It would be a thoroughly retrograde step for the government to pursue this, given the impact that it will have in rural areas.” 18/9/2018 Link

Announced that All Party Parliamentary Group on Shale Gas Impacts will examine the government’s proposals at its meeting on 22 October 2018.

Martin Sandy, Labour,  Ipswich

Signed House of Commons Early Day Motion opposing changes to planning rules in the National Planning Policy Framework, 13/9/2018 Link

Bob Seely, Conservative, Isle of Wight

Opposed government proposals during a Westminster Hall debate, fearing they would set a precedent for other developments, 12/9/2018 Link

Jim Shannon, Democratic Unionist, Strangford

Signed House of Commons Early Day Motion opposing changes to planning rules in the National Planning Policy Framework, 11/9/2018 Link

Asked the Energy Minister, during a Westminster Hall debate on the government proposals, for assurances that safety will be paramount, 12/9/2018 Link

Alex Shelbrooke, Conservative, Elmet and Rothwell

Raised concerns during a Westminster Hall debate on the government’s proposals about fracking in former mining areas, 12/9/2018 Link

Dennis Skinner, Labour, Bolsover

Signed House of Commons Early Day Motion opposing changes to planning rules in the National Planning Policy Framework, 12/9/2018 Link

Opposed government proposals during a Westminster Hall debate, 12/9/2018 Link

Matt Western, Labour, Warwick and Leamington

Signed House of Commons Early Day Motion opposing changes to planning rules in the National Planning Policy Framework, 11/9/2018 Link


Bath and North East Somerset, Conservative

180913 BNES council vote on shale gas pd motion

Members of Bath and North East Somerset voting to oppose government proposals on permitted development for shale gas schemes. There were three abstentions and no votes against. Photo: council webcast, 13/9/2018

Supported a Labour motion to oppose the government proposals 13/9/2018  Link and webcast

Blackpool Borough, Labour

Unanimously opposed the government proposals, 19/9/2018 Link

Brighton and Hove City, Lab

Voted by 23 to 17 to oppose government proposals, 18/10/2018, Link

Bromley Borough, Conservative

Council’s development control committee recommended to oppose government proposals, 11/9/2018 Link

Bury Metropolitan Borough, Labour

Council unanimously supported emergency motion calling for the withdrawal of the proposals, 12/9/2018 Link

Blackburn, Labour

Council leader, Cllr Mohammed Khan, in his report to the council forum, raises concerns about the government proposals:

“These proposals have the potential to remove or limit the role of the local authority planning process for shale gas extraction, and whilst at this stage there are no active projects of this type in the borough, I’m concerned that these proposals from the Government could set a precedent for driving future changes to planning decisions and limiting the role of local decision making. The Council will be responding to the consultation and outlining our concerns. ” 4/10/2018 Link to report

Cambridgeshire, Conservative

The economy and environment committee voted against proposals on permitted development. It did not propose to respond to individual questions on the NSIP consultation. 11/10/2018 Link

Cheshire West and Chester Council, Labour

Approved a motion, proposed by a Conservative councillor and seconded by a Labour member,  that fracking applications should be determined by local authorities. 18/10/2018 Details

Derbyshire County, Conservative

The council issues a statement saying it opposed both government proposals (15/10/2018). Cllr Simon Spencer says:

“We cannot see how you could just let through a proposal to explore for shale gas. There are many things to consider when looking at an application to do this and we know from recent experience that there is considerable local anxiety about these types of operations.

“We are also against the proposals to take the decision on shale gas production out of local control and include these decisions in something called the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project regime. This means that planning inspectors and the Secretary of State would make the decision, not local councillors.

“Both of these 2 changes would see local people being denied an opportunity to have their say, and this is unacceptable.”

The leader of the council makes a statement against the proposals, 15/8/2018 Link

Conservative councillor, Alex Dale, writing for Conservative Home, explains why he thinks proposed fracking changes “offend Conservative values”, 30/7/2018 Link

Doncaster Borough, Labour

Approved a motion committing not to allow any fracking activities on council-owned or controlled land and regretting that the government “now appear to be determined to force fracking on areas, regardless of local opinion”, 20/9/2018 Link

Dorset, Conservative

Councillors vote to oppose proposals for both permitted development and NSIP. They say the NSIP proposal has “not been fully justified”, particularly questioning why shale gas should be treated differently to conventional onshore oil and gas. Cllr Daryl Turner, cabinet member for the natural and built environment, said:

“there is a risk that the proposals will be perceived to undermine local democratic accountability and integrity in the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects planning regime”.  17/10/2018 Link

East Riding of Yorkshire, Conservative

Approved a motion strongly opposing the proposals to remove local authority involvement in shale gas planning decisions, 10/10/18 Link

Fylde Borough, Conservative

The council’s planning committee objected to the proposals on permitted development and NSIP, 5/9/2018, Link

High Peak, Conservative

Economy and Growth Select Committee recommended to oppose government proposals, 27/9/2018 Link

Hull City, Labour

The council’s planning committee unanimously backed a formal objection to the government’s proposals on permitted development and NSIP, 16/10/2018. Details

Councillor Diana Hatcher, said:

“This would override local decision-making.”

Isle of Wight, Conservative

Approves motion opposing the government proposals, 19/9/2018 Link

180919 Isle of Wight campaigners Frack Free isle of wight

Campaigners outside the Isle of Wight Council, 19 September 2018. Photo: Frack Free Isle of Wight

Lake District National Park

The national park authority agreed to issue a joint response with all other national parks in England that permitted development rights for non-hydraulic fracturing shale gas exploration should not apply in national parks, Link

Lancashire County, Conservative

Votes to oppose the proposals, 19/7/2018 Link

Leicestershire County, Conservative

The council was recommended to oppose the proposals for permitted development. On NSIP, the council was recommended to respond that it would be appropriate to include development that was genuinely providing infrastructure of national significance, 16/10/2018 Link

Lincolnshire County, Conservative

The council’s environment and economic scrutiny panel endorses a response opposing the government proposals, Executive member for economy recommends the council oppose the proposals, 18/9/2018 Link

Cllr Colin Davie, executive member for economy, said:

“It would be absolutely ridiculous that this kind of development could be dealt with under permitted development rights.”

Mansfield District, No overall control

Voted 29 against with 1 abstention to oppose the government’s proposals, 18/9/2018, Link

North Yorkshire County Council, Conservative

Council opposed both permitted development and Nationally-significant Infrastructure Project proposals.

North York Moors National Park Authority

Authority members endorsed an officer’s report opposing the government proposals for permitted development and the nationally significant infrastructure regime, 1/10/2018  Link to report

Nottinghamshire County, Conservative / Independent

180920 Notts CC motion approved unanimously

Council approves unanimously motion (below left) to oppose government proposals, 20/9/2018. Cllr Jim Creamer, vice chair of the planning committee, previously said the proposals represented “a blank cheque for frackers”. Link180920 Notts CC motion on shale gas consultation

Pendle Borough, Conservative

Councillors approve a motion that opposed government proposals on shale gas planning rules. It said they “represent a threat to local democracy and to the rights of local people and local communities”, 25/9/2018 Link to agenda

Reigate and Banstead, Conservative

Council leader, Mark Brunt, announced the council would oppose the proposals, 27/9/2018, Link (see 58 minutes into webcast).

Rossendale Borough, Labour

Cllr Christine Lamb, portfolio holder for regulatory services said:

“As a council, we believe that it should be up to local communities to decide whether nor not to allow fracking to take place in their areas”. 24/8/2018 Link

Rotherham Borough, Labour

Cllr Amy Brookes, writing on her website, opposes the proposals:

“I am very much against this and would seek for government to withdraw this proposal on the grounds that it is a misuse of the planning system and is not comparable activity  to the small developments – like  minor extensions, garden sheds or erecting a fence – that are normally considered under permitted development.” 8/8/2018 Link

Ryedale District, No overall control

Rejects government proposals 6/9/2018 Link

Sefton Metropolitan Borough, Labour

Approved a motion opposing the government’s proposals, 20/9/2018 Link

Sheffield City, Labour

Opposed both proposals in a detailed motion, 6 June 2018 Link

Shropshire County, Conservative

Opposed both proposals, 17 October 2018

Shropshire Council Shale Gas Consultation Response

Staffordshire County, Conservative

Opposed proposals for both permitted development and NSIP, 23/10/2018 Link

St Helens, Labour

Objected to plans for permitted development, 29/10/2018 Link

Surrey County, Conservative

Councillors voted to oppose the changes. Link to agenda

West Lancashire, Labour

Approves motion opposing government proposals and resolves local authorities are best placed to make decisions on shale gas exploration, appraisal and production, 17/10/2018 Link

West Sussex, Conservative

57 councillors approved a motion opposing the government proposals. There were no votes against and two abstentions. 19/10/2018 Link

Wirral, Labour

Cabinet member for the environment, Cllr Anita Leech, says the government proposals “must be opposed”. She says the council has formally responded to the consultation, opposing the proposals. 22/10/2018 Link

York City, Conservative/Lib Dem

Council votes for amended motion to oppose the government proposals, 25/10/2018 Webcast (vote at 2:50), Link to motion

Cllr Andrew Waller, executive member for environment, backs council response to oppose government proposals, 22/10/2018 Link

Conservative councillors reject the case for permitted development for non-fracking schemes 13/9/2018 Link

Lib Dem councillors oppose the government proposals and start a petition www.yorklibdems.org.uk/fracking 3/8/2018 Link

Parish and town councils

Voted to oppose government proposals:

  • Bridgwater Town, Somerset, 13/9/2018 Link
  • Brockham, Surrey
  • Copmanthorpe Parish, 14/8/2018 Link
  • Clatworthy Parish, West Somerset
  • Dilton Marsh Parish Council, Wiltshire, 18/10/2018 Link
  • Edwinstowe Parish, Nottinghamshire, 11/9/2018 Link
  • Frome Town, Somerset
  • Great and Little Barugh Parish, North Yorkshire
  • Habton Parish, North Yorkshire
  • Kilve Parish, West Somerset, 26/9/2018
  • Kirby Misperton Parish, North Yorkshire, 24/10/2018
  • Norton Town, North Yorkshire, 18/9/2018
  • Otley Town, West Yorkshire, 7/9/2018 Link

Campaign groups and organisations


1,547 signatures on a petition, 24/10/2018 Link


11,905 letters written to council leaders opposing the proposals 24/10/2018 Link

199,553 signatures on petition with 38 Degrees against the proposals 24/10/2018 Link

Friends of the Earth

65,474 signatures on petition opposing the proposals 24/10/2018 Link


42,484 signatures on petition opposing proposals 24/10/2018 Link

UK Youth Climate Coalition

The group writes to energy minister, Claire Perry, requesting a meeting to share concerns about proposed changes to the planning system for shale gas, 10/9/2018 Link to letter

Jake Woodier, from the UK Youth Climate Coalition, 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 also is 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 out fossil fuel addiction before it’s too late.” 26/9/2018

33 replies »

  1. Oh John-perhaps I referred to the twaddle peddler who told us there was cheap oil and gas sloshing around the world so there was no need to explore our own resources?

    Or other tps who try and suggest the big oil companies are not interested in shale, avoiding the recent huge investment by BP in shale. Just because they see certain advantages in other countries and place their bets there, it does not mean they are not in the game.

    There is one company in the UK who are more involved in the use and costings for shale gas than any other, and they are the largest investors in trying to achieve UK shale gas production. That is no guarantee they will be right in their calculations, but I think I will expect them to be closer to the reality than the tps.

    • Remind me again which part of this is twaddle

      In a 2013 submission to Parliament, Bloomberg said it would cost between 47 and 81 pence per therm to extract shale gas in Europe (using USD-to-GBP conversion rates).

      The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies said in its 2010 report “Can Unconventional Gas be a Game Changer in European Markets” that shale extraction would likely be even more expensive, costing between 49 and 102 pence per therm.

      EY, in its 2013 report “Shale Gas in Europe: Revolution or evolution?”, went further still, saying it would cost between 53 and 79 pence per therm.

      And Centrica, which backs UK fracking firm Cuadrilla, said it would cost at the very least 46 pence per therm to frack, according to stats referenced in this 2012 EU report.

      Gas price trends at a glance


      By 2022/23 47.5 pence per therm

      The average of the above figures comes to 62.87 pence per therm

      So in 2023 UK shale would be operating at

      MINUS 15.3 pence per therm

    • MARTIN ,

      YES you are correct , BP may have invested in Shale in OTHER countries,

      BUT unlike Centrica that have sunk their hard earned cash into a huge white elephant and watched it disappear into a puff off shale smoke

      BP, were smart enough to gauge public opinion and see that it will be a VERY COSTLY non starter to try and force it on the UK population …..

  2. Speculation to me is twaddle, John. I know it is what the antis rely upon. Equally, what has happened to the costs of fracking where it is done, since 2014? No-one supposed to know that?

    But, don’t stop. By producing the same out dated and speculative suggestions it just emphasises how bare the cupboard is. If other antis need to be reminded of why they are antis I would be surprised if even they have any belief in this. Others who do their own research will just find that the anti economics have more sand under them than you would find on Blackpool beach.

    If you are concerned about the production economics perhaps the N.Sea is a more fertile area?

    • No speculation here MC, only denial by those who are in the wrong corner.
      Your responses are always ‘contra’ with no formulated argument, evidence or properly constructed alternatives; just stultiloquence.

  3. Ahh, there talks the guy who tries to divert his failings upon others. Sherwulfe, when you continue to do that it becomes evident, and it becomes noticeable that facts are a problem to you. Thanks for the feedback. Apologies, but shortly there should be a few more for you to cope with.

    Hello Jack. Nice to see you back. I think you will find BPs decision was for somewhat different reasons than you suggest. Perhaps they missed the boat the first time and jumped on another passing when an opportunity arose because others had shown them the boat floated? Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t change the FACT they believed OPEC could drive down the price of oil and force frackers out of business-like many others had thought. It did force some out, but it also forced others to become very much more efficient around 2014 and then the boot was on the other foot. The Americans are very good at that-pioneering spirit attached to technology. BP should have considered that, but I suspect they had other things on their mind at the time. Pass that onto Sherwulfe, Jack. He has a blind spot to information that comes from other than an anti. I am not going to provide “links” for that but it can be easily verified.

    • From Cuadrilla’s 2017 annual report

      ‘Our ongoing analysis indicates excellent rock quality for hydraulic fracturing and a high natural gas content in multiple zones
      within the very thick shale rock interval’

      Centrica have invested £60 million in Cuadrilla who now need another $6 million more. Investors will be asking why after the recent positive reports have Centrica not put in another $6 million.

      Maybe Total have been advising Centrica on why it’s not a good idea to keep throwing money at UK shale

      Total has sold 30% of working interest in each of the licenses PEDL 273, 305 and 316, so it will retain a 20% interest. It has also sold 40% of working interest in the PEDL 139 and 140 licenses.

      Total’s decision to reduce its holding of UK onshore acreage is in line with its strategy to concentrate on its current British offshore assets.

      • U.K Local Councils have invested pension funds totaling £9,000,000,000 in fracking operations

        Do you think all these Local Councils have not done their due diligence?

        Better get down your Local Council John and tell them the bad news…

  4. No, they won’t ask that question at all, as it is quite clear to them that Cuadrilla have the funding required for the moment. What would extra funding deliver? More wells? Think you miss the point. PNR is the first stage and will need to be developed further first.

    Ahh, but maybe Total’s decision was all to do with so much cheap oil and gas sloshing around the world? You can add speculation to speculation but it is irrelevant. It is also totally (excuse the pun) normal practice in the real world for the large beasts to let the exploration companies do the leg work and then gobble them up if and when they are successful, and may require more funding to accelerate that success. That way they concentrate on their core strategy and don’t divert into territory that could get them censored by share holders if the returns are less than they would have managed from their core business. The Pension Funds would not be happy otherwise. It is not just the banks that are being squeezed by investors back to their core business.
    You seem to know more about the oil and gas business than some others John but keep making suggestions that are not supported by the realities within the industry. However, we are moving closer to the realities which will clear the fog away.

  5. MC austerity is over don’t you know. You can add West Sussex County Council to the unanimously against list too.

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