Campaigners assemble model rig outside government department in protest at shale gas planning changes


Installation of a model drilling rig outside the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, 8 October 2018. Photo: H L Agrosdidier

Opponents of government plans to fast-track shale gas exploration assembled a 4m model drilling rig in Westminster this morning.

The installation, by the campaign group, Frack Off London, was in protest at the proposals that would allow some shale gas developments to bypass the local planning permission system.

The protest marked the start of a week of action (see DrillOrDrop diary) against the proposals, which are out for consultation until 25 October 2018.

This morning, 20 environmental organisations, including CPRE, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, RSPB and WWF, also demanded the government drop the proposals.

Ministers announced earlier this year that they wanted to treat non-fracking shale gas exploration as “permitted development”. This would mean companies no longer had to apply for planning permission to begin exploratory drilling for shale gas.

The government also said it wanted to classify major shale gas production schemes as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. This would take decisions away from local councils and give them to national government.


The model rig was assembled outside the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in central London.

Lorraine Inglis, of Frack Off London, said:

“The idea that these proposals could be used to force the hugely unpopular and highly contentious fracking industry onto communities is an outrageous affront to local democracy. These changes could result in the industrialisation of our countryside and it is crucial that local councils and communities have the final say on whether this polluting industry is allowed into their local area or not.”

Sebastian Kelly, Let Communities Decide campaigner at 350.org, said:

“These proposals represent a desperate attempt to force a failing industry onto communities. Local people understand the risks posed by fracking to the health of their families, countryside and the climate, and must be able to influence the planning process to express these concerns. The Government must listen to the growing concerns from locals, Councillors and MPs and immediately drop these undemocratic and reckless proposals.”

 “Perversion of local democracy”

181008 Telegraph environmental sector letter

In an open letter, published today in the Daily Telegraph, heads of 20 environmental organisations said the proposals, if approved, would “be as shocking as they would be harmful”:

“These plans would disregard the wishes of local communities, remove decision making powers from local councils and strip the requirement for fracking companies to apply for planning permission for shale gas exploration.”

The letter said the proposals would be “a complete perversion of local democracy, and will undermine the fundamental principles of our planning system”.

“Now we, the voice of the environmental sector, are calling on the government to drop its proposals that risk opening the door to fracking on an industrial scale, and threaten the health and tranquillity of our green and pleasant land. Far from removing local people’s voices from the discussion, it is imperative that they are given the opportunity to have their say.”

Crispin Truman, chief executive officer at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said:

“We have a Government policy full of contradictions. It makes ‘commitments’ to cut carbon emissions, to conserve and enhance the beauty of our natural environment and also to champion localism. Yet they attempt to impose on us a new industry that extracts carbon-emitting fossil fuels, that will industrialise the countryside against the wishes of local communities and deny those same communities the opportunity to reject any subsequent fracking proposals.

“To fast-track fracking through the planning system, as these proposals aim to do, is a ruthless subversion of local democracy. It is imperative that the Government heeds the warnings from this coalition of environmental groups, as well as those MPs pushing back against the plans from all political parties. The proposals are quite simply unacceptable and must be dropped immediately.”

38 replies »

  1. It’s what is called the writing on the wall. Ecocide, climate change, tipping point…. We are there. People of goodwill will hear this message. Those who don’t listen know who they are.

  2. The point that sticks with me Sherwulfe, is Shell rising in value by 14% over the last 6 months, and annual dividend income of almost 5.3%. Never sell Shell.

    Silly old me, expecting someone managing my money to get me a decent return, rather than virtue signal. I can do the latter myself, at no cost. I can also manage part of my pension myself as well, at lower cost to Aviva. Sorry Aviva, stick to what you are paid for, or you will find you are not paid. But, feel free. Bung your clients money into Tesla, but I will not be amongst them.

    The gravy train wants more funding. More wagons being added as it trundles along. When do the numbers of scientists on this train make people realise there is a lot of gravy to be had?

  3. By the way Sherwulfe, you forgot to mention the recent report that stated too many on shore wind turbines in the UK would increase temperatures by modifying wind flow. Bit selective of you? Don’t think you will earn too much commission on that platform.

  4. Head of British anti-corruption told to halt investigation into Russian money laundering

    It is reported that the British Foreign Office advised the halting of the anti corruption investigation into Russian gangster money laundering through UK and Europe?


    “The fraud investigated by Magnitsky has led to criminal investigations around Europe and last week it emerged that Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest bank, had laundered £178 billion.”

    It raises the uncomfortable suggestion, that the UK Foreign Office and the UK government is patently unhappy with anti corruption investigation into Russian gangster money laundering in UK?

    One can only wonder why that is? Perhaps there are links to funding from Russian gangster money laundering operations far too close to some sticky fingers and pockets and bank accounts in UK government and beyond? Not so much brown envelopes as Balalaika cases?

    Considering the ever more dodgy financial foundations of the UK oil and gas operators and the UK governments own efforts to provide exclusive sole support to such operations in the UK, in spite of the very great need to diversify into fully establishing renewable energy sources that can replace and provide real long term energy security to the UK. That there are some rather more interesting funding sources that some in “high” places do not want to be investigated and brought into the light of day?

    Maybe we should be looking closely at Russian gangster funding and money laundering right where those claims and accusations are made from?

    After all, we have come to realise from posters on this site, that it is standard anti anti strategy to very quickly accuse their victims of precisely the same activities that they themselves could well be guilty of?

    Methinks they doth protest too much?

    The fact that there is an abject failure to pursue and implement renewable resources in this country in favour of of the oil and gas operators, may have more to do with where their party and personal funding and loyalties lie, rather than any consideration for preventing a global melt down and the inevitable destruction of the entire planets ecosystem?

    Short termism climate change denial may have more to do with the prospective contents of a wine cellar than any concern about the future for anyone other than their own immediate overstuffed comfort blanket?

  5. Yes, people react like that Sherwulfe. Brent crude at $84/barrel coming their way. Think that may cause a bit more reaction than the price of hay.

    That’s why, others say:

    “Some exposure to oil looks a good way to diversify an investment portfolio and offset the risk of MORE EXPENSIVE energy hurting MOST FORMS OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITY. A high oil price is bad news for most businesses because it adds to costs and reduces profits. There is one significant exception to the above, though: oil companies.”

    Would that be the economic activity required to develop alternative energy sources, and prevent them from being more expensive? Good job Norway has sussed it.

    No, you need a lot of ‘planes to fly all those “scientists” from Brazil to Paris to Bonn to South Korea etc. etc. Don’t think ostriches are up to it.

    • MARTIN ,

      The current price of fuel at the pump has little to do with price of oil per barrel and more to do with the SUPER SHAFTING of the general British public as a whole. Take a look at the numbers below.

      June 2008 Crude Oil peaked at $ 136 ( US dollars ) a barrel.
      In the UK, June 2008 the average price per litre, of unleaded fuel was £ 1.18

      TODAY…. October 2018 Crude Oil is $ 83.8 ( US dollars ) a barrel.
      In the UK TODAY, the average price per litre of unleaded fuel is £ 130.7

      Links to clarify the above, can be provided upon request.

      You do the maths MARTIN.

  6. No, Jack, it is to do with taxation!

    Some may call that SUPER SHAFTING. Others may call it producing a SUPER NHS.

    Then of course there is the exchange rate between the £ and the $. But, you seem to be happy to ignore the implications of that. I don’t think you should as all predictions are for Sterling to run through a weak period, making imports more expensive.

    Reality is usually a little more complex than Giggle would suggest.

  7. MARTIN ,

    Currently with the UK £ soaring against other currencies, IMPORTS should be CHEAPER.

    Sterling soars against US dollar


    TAXATION , now there’s an interesting topic .

    As far as funding for the SUPER NHS goes.

    Maybe we could save 10s x £ billions if we stopped fighting wars in other countries where we are not wanted .

    Maybe we would stop haemorrhaging money, if we didn’t sell of prized UK assets like the Post Office… Now when you buy a stamp, your funding the pensions of German pensioners

    Maybe we should even support Sir Jim Ratcliffe , with his ambition to open up a factory and produce hybrid cars in the UK.

    Just a thought .

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