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. WARNING today from …..Nobel Peace Prize-winning United Nations panel said in a new report.

    NOTE…….. We are on course to pass the maximum 1.5c global temperature rise limit….. At the current rate, it is said we will have a world destroying 3.2c rise in global temperature by the end of THIS century.

    WE HAVE ONLY 12 YEARS to limit catastrophic climate change.


    UN climate change panel says ‘unprecedented’ action needed to prevent temperature rise


    REMEMBER….. Fracking is energy intensive, the process uses a lot of energy/resources to extract a little.

    There is NO PLACE for this costly form of fossil fuel extraction…. Drastic , immediate reduction in fossils fuel burning needs to start NOW to protect your granchildren’s future

    [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

    • [Edited by moderator]
      What? Global temperatures are due to rise! PANICK! Quick, buy some energy intensive air conditioning units to cool us down! We’ll need those fossil fuels for the power plants!

  2. Yes, agreed, 15C is bad news….. or did they get the link title wrong? 10x as bad as I thought it was….

    • You can all relax now Paul, we will all be boiled instead of roasted?

      Maybe ask martin if there is a decimal point? Peaceful or otherwise? Ask a lobster.

      Perhaps its all a matter of preparation, or rather the utter lack of it?

      Mint sauce anyone?

      Ooh! Ooh! Hot! Hot!

  3. It was the Guardian, Paul!

    Nice way to excite some more student union type activity. I (vaguely) remember such with fondness.

    In my day, it was free milk for school children. Always going to be removed once nutrition levels improved after WW2, and not much loved by the majority of the kids by the time it disappeared, but a good cause to follow and chatter about in the student bar for a few weeks.

  4. Pitiful, just PITIFUL MARTIN your attempt to play down this importance of this serious report is shameful.

    So just for YOU,

    You can also find this report on ,



    BBC news


    ABC news


    CNBC news


    Do YOU need any more proof ????

    [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

    • The IRIVERSABLE tipping point for climate change is now said to be 2030.

      Immediate change needs to start NOW .

  5. Slow down Jack. Right first time avoids the cost of non conformance. (That would solve most of UKs productivity issue, but would add to levels of unemployment dramatically.)

    Sorry Jack, it is the cynic in me. Like a few days after we learn over 50% of the world’s population are middle class or above, and then we are told we should all stop eating meat to help control climate change! You can look for as many links as you like to support ceasing eating meat, but do a bit of research into what most people are desperate to spend their new disposable income on when they move from poor to middle class. I can save you the task-it is meat! In other words, it may resonate in Notting Hill (and many Universities), who will insist on the French Beans being airfreighted from Africa over Christmas, but those in Africa who receive the income from that will look to achieve a diet that they chose-and it is not vegetarian for the majority. My French Beans are ready in the freezer and when they run out I will have my own Brussels, and my Courgettes are made into ratatouille and in the freezer. so no need to truck them up from Spain-all with meat. I have never bothered to work it out, but I suspect there would be little to chose between my dietary habits and a Notting Hill veggie in terms of climate change. They, however, have the self righteousness to spread around them. Another comfort blanket.

    • so for the investors and pensioners on here;

      ‘Steve Waygood, chief responsible investment officer, Aviva Investors:

      Keeping global temperature increases to 1.5C will help safeguard our investment portfolios and protect our customers savings. The long-term negative financial consequences of climate change are far, far greater than the short-term financial risks of transitioning to the Paris agreement. Today’s report reiterates the need for policymakers to accelerate action to reduce carbon emissions and meet the agreed aims of the Paris agreement.’

      now that point may stick with MC?

      • Slow down is exactly the wrong response MC, or maybe you have your own supply if food and air for you family 12 years hence, oh and don’t forget a big metal door to keep out everyone else………

        • So I am sitting here an my wind powered computer knowing I have to do more; I hope everyone else is now reevaluating their contribution. We have to move faster, we have to either work with the blue climate deniers or bring in the reds; game on.
          ‘“We have presented governments with pretty hard choices. We have pointed out the enormous benefits of keeping to 1.5C, and also the unprecedented shift in energy systems and transport that would be needed to achieve that,” said Jim Skea, a co-chair of the working group on mitigation. “We show it can be done within laws of physics and chemistry. Then the final tick box is political will. We cannot answer that. Only our audience can – and that is the governments that receive it.”’
          https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/global-warming-must-not-exceed-15c-warns-landmark-un-report accessed 8/10118 2.38pm

          • As shale gas wells deplete over a short time why don’t we dump this addition to carbon emissions, put up as many onshore turbines as possible with a life of 20-25 years to avert the tragedy. Then after 25 year we reassess the technology and with the improvements reduce the number and only place in suitable areas?

            It makes simple sense. It’s a win win, those who cannot get used to the look can have them taken down, and those that are in appropriate areas with enhanced production will continue to generate the power we need….

      • ‘“It’s a line in the sand and what it says to our species is that this is the moment and we must act now,” said Debra Roberts, a co-chair of the working group on impacts. “This is the largest clarion bell from the science community and I hope it mobilises people and dents the mood of complacency.” – move over GBK, the planet is fighting back

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