300K+-signature petitions against government plans to fast-track fracking

181025 petition hand in Friends of the Earth2

Hand-in of three petitions with 300,000+ signatures against government proposals to change the planning rules for shale gas sites. Photo: Friends of the Earth

Three petitions with a total of 300,000+ signatures were handed in this morning to the government, opposing its plans to fast-track fracking decisions in England.

The petitions, organised by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Friends of the Earth and Sum of Us, were delivered to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government on the final day of the public consultation on the proposals.

The government has proposed to make non-fracking schemes permitted development, avoiding the need for a planning application. It is also seeking to classify major shale gas production developments as nationally-significant infrastructure projects, known as NSIP, where decisions are made by a minister, rather than a local authority.

At the time of writing, almost 200,000 people had signed the CPRE/38 degrees petition. Almost 66,000 had signed the Friends of the Earth petition and more than 42,500 signed the petition organised by SumOfUs.org

The Times reported that about 20 Conservative MPs were expected to vote against the proposals if ministers tried to push them through parliament next year.

A tracker by DrillOrDrop has logged public opposition from more than a dozen Conservative mineral planning authorities, including Bath and North East Somerset, Bromley, Cambridgeshire, City of York, Derbyshire, Dorset, East Riding of Yorkshire, Isle of Wight, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Surrey and West Sussex.

DrillOrDrop also recorded two Labour-led mineral planning authorities – Cheshire West and Chester and Rotherham – which have publicly opposed the proposals.

Daniel Carey-Dawes, Senior Infrastructure Campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said:

“The Government claims to champion localism, but its proposals to fast-track fracking fly in the face of this rhetoric. These 300,000 signatures represent a level of opposition that cannot and must not be ignored. To overlook this clear lack of public consent and push ahead with these proposals – which would deny the very people who will be directly affected by the risk fracking poses to our countryside and environment, the right to oppose it – would be a complete disregard of their democratic rights.”

Rose Dickinson, campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:

“The government’s proposals would allow fracking companies to drill for gas, using rules originally designed to make it easier to put up a garden shed. So, it’s unsurprising that 300,000 people and many MPs and councils are opposed. The government want to wrest decisions away from local communities which could lead to the industrialisation of our countryside. To solve the climate crisis we need to be moving away from fossil fuels, not making it easier for companies to dig up more”.

DrillOrDrop reported earlier this month on a national week of action against the proposals.

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

“Communities have been taking action to oppose these proposals because they realise that urgent action on climate change means no new fossil fuel development, and abandoning plans to fast-track fracking by bypassing local democracy. The Government must listen to the growing concerns from climate scientists, communities, Councillors and MPs and immediately drop these undemocratic and reckless proposals.”


Consultation on permitted development (ends 11.45pm on 25 October 2018)

Consultation on Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (ends 11.45pm on 25 October 2018)

Updated 15.06 on 25/10/2018 to replace Shropshire with Staffordshire

40 replies »

    • Indeed, it’s a certainty that it wouldnt be 300k unique individuals. Some may also speculate that certain individuals sign multiple petitions multiple times.

    • I wonder if when there is a petition to keep a hospital open or for some other campaign whether you also write to question how many may have signed multiple times, accuse them if they have over 300,000 signatures of not having much support? Or that there are millions of people in the country so their numbers represent only a tiny percentage so are irrelevant? I expect if you answered honestly the answer may be no? And there in lies the bias and exposes how irrelevant these sort of comments are. And I wonder what you base your comments on, what are you comparing numbers against? Is there a petition of signatures gathered showing a higher level of support for the proposals? I suspect not and silence does not equal support. It equals silence. This is not about whether you support fracking or not. It is about alteration to the planning and development regime. There are many people that support fracking but oppose the government’s proposals. I am concerned that people become blinded about the issues because of entrenched views. These planning changes would have significant, negative implications for us all and go way beyond fracking.

      • KatT, what’s boring is people who are so blinkered by a view that they think those who share it are beyond reproach.

  1. The fact is that a lot of people have spoken against the fracking and MP’s are also in agreement that it shouldn’t go ahead. This shoudl be seen as good news. Dont piss on peoples parade!

  2. So a clear minority made up of die hard activists and people misled by false media articles and headline grabbers.
    Was literally hearing yesterday that apparently fraccing had caused a huge earthquake somewhere in England a couple of days ago 😴.

    • I suggest you just stay asleep as you clearly have not a clue what is happening near Blackpool. These are not ‘die hard activists’ they are people who are standing up against the government who are trying to push through parliment something that can have disastrous consequences on the whole of the UK [edited by moderator]

    • Interesting stats. I wonder how many people were invited to sign the petitions, or were exposed to them, and chose not to?

  3. Wow, interesting how many people are trying to knock down these sizeable petitions in every way they can. Just shows how worried the pro-fracking [edited by moderator] are about the increasing opposition to fracking, particularly now it’s started.
    I’d be interested to see if they could get over 300,000 signing a pro-fracking petition, or 1,000 people at a pro-fracking demo. Do you ever wonder why those in favour of fracking don’t ever put on demonstrations or have petitions? It’s because their supporter base is so pitifully small that the turnout would be embarrassing.
    It would also be interested to see if the pro-frackers (who seem to be targeting this blog more than ever these days) could name any councils who have voted in favour of allowing exploratory drilling for fracking to become Permitted Development. We can name dozens who oppose it. Can they name one that voted in favour?

  4. You know it is getting really boring reading the same old attacks from those that support fracking. Every time there is a rally or petition submitted the same comments are repeated. 300,000 signatures is a lot of signatures. You cannot compare it to the numbers eligible to vote because even in a general election a high percentage of people do not vote. Trying to down play the figures is quite simply petty. It is what it is. 300,000 signatures obtained against the government’s proposed changes to allow permitted development rights for the exploratory stage and inclusion in the NSIP regime for production. Many supporters of fracking, including Conservative MPs oppose these government proposals as do many local authorities. Therefore a high level of opposition is not in the least bit surprising. It is hoped that the government wil reconsider and withdraw these proposals because the impact will have far reaching consequences for us all, that go beyond fracking. This issue is not whether or not you support shale gas extraction it is about planning and development and how it should operate within a democracy.

    • By the same token, trying to inflate the figures, by suggesting that the cumulative count of 300k somehow equates to 300k individuals, is a little desperate. What’s good for the goose, and all that…

    • KatT; these posters are not interested in the views of people, only their ‘puppet masters’. The fact is the petition is in, more and more blues are turning against fracking and the reds and greens say no.

      A few more ‘quakes’ and the fat lady will be warming up her vocal chords.

      • The problem you have Sherwulfe is that fracking is either not on most people’s radar, or way, way down the list of concerns when it comes to voting at a general election. A prime example is your own constituency assuming you live in Menzies constituency. Even the Tina the great standing for the Green Party did really badly – on the anti fracking ticket – lost votes and lost her deposit. If Comrade Corbyn gets in it won’t because he says he’ll ban fracking.

        Summary: 2017 and changes 2015–2017
        Candidate Party Votes Vote (%) Change (%)
        Mark Menzies Con 27,334 58.8 9.7
        Jed Sullivan Lab 15,529 33.4 14.6
        Freddie van Mierlo LD 2,341 5.0 1.3
        Tina Rothery * Green 1,263 2.7 -0.5
        * Candidate lost their deposit

          • Yes Sherwulfe, only one year on and Cuadrilla are fracking. It won’t make any difference to how the majority of people vote – unless of course the two wells flow test at high rates. This may have an impact nationally. If the wells don’t flow then that’s the end of Cuadrilla and possibly fracking in England (unless INEOS are succesful). But that won’t be on anyone’s radar.

            I assume from your comment that you expect Menzies to lose at the next election (or whoever the Conservative candidate may be)?

    • KatT, if the issue is not whether or not you support shale gas extraction, and it being more about planning and development and how it should operate within a democracy.

      Why wasn’t there the same level of excitement when permitted development was first applied to Coring wells for any other type of mineral except petroleum in the UK?

  5. How many voted for Boaty Macboatface???

    Proves what? Did the ship get named? What is it named?

    Eventually, sanity takes over.

    Substantial gas, Sherwulfe, and the fat ladies, the thin ones, the chaps and most of the rest of the majority will all be singing : we want more!

    • It was not sanity MC, it was the boat owners who reneged on their promise; by the way did you probably didn’t know the guy who proposed Boaty McBoatface actually did it as a joke and did not in a million years expect it to be chosen. Personally I think it’s a great name and less stuffy than The DA!

      Substantial gas – yeh avin a laugh, even PT does not think this will happen.

      You can live in your dream world for now Martin, but mark my words, the lady s definitely warming up in the wings 😉

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