MPs to debate government plans to fast-track fracking


Photo: DrillOrDrop

Government proposals to relax the planning rules for shale gas sites are due to be discussed for the first time in the chamber of the House of Commons.

It follows calls for a debate by a cross-party group of MPs.

In May last year, the government announced plans to classify non-fracking shale gas sites as permitted development. This would allow operators to avoid the need for a full planning application and bypass the normal local authority decision-making process.

Ministers also proposed to designate major shale gas production sites at Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP). This would mean decisions would be made the local government secretary, rather than local councillors.

A petition against the proposals last year received more than 300,000 signatures. More than 600 councillors signed a letter opposing the measures. Conservative MPs had warned that the government may not have sufficient parliamentary support if there was a vote. The government has not yet published the conclusions of public consultations.

190328 debate montage

The debate, scheduled for tomorrow (28 March 2019), was proposed by the Liberal Democrat Wera Hobhouse, the Conservative Ben Bradley and Labour’s Sir Clive Betts.

Applying for the debate, they said:

“The proposed changes contained within the initial two consultations 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.”

This will be the first time in three years that fracking has been debated in the main chamber of the House of Commons and a first for the government proposals.

If the government goes ahead with the permitted development and NSIP schemes, they are likely to become law without primary legislation. This means they are unlikely to be subject to full parliamentary scrutiny.

Ms Hobhouse said:

“The government is still considering these consultations, and therefore this debate is not only important but vital.

“This government’s laissez-faire attitude towards the rights of local people is worrying, and their similar disregard for the UK’s carbon emissions is downright terrifying.

“[Investing in fracking] would be a huge step backwards in our fight against climate change; we owe it to our children, and their children, to do the right thing and invest fully in renewable energies. This country must not rely on fossil fuels any longer, and the transition away from them needs to be accelerated now.”

39 replies »

  1. Well we will see where this goe,
    I understand the concerns of Ms [H]obhouse. But the UK energy security is of a concern and with brexit looming lets ensure that they make a decision that suits the economic and moral obligations to the country.
    Nimbyism has no place and does not reflect the needs of the country. The industry is and can be regulated to ensure safety and compliance, look at the offshore sector.
    One of the worlds safest in terms of regulation, let the experts do their jobs without outside couch specialist rehashing you tube videos ones too ofter, which is not revelant to this countries policies!

    • Fossil fuels cause Climate Destruction.

      This is a proven fact.

      Climate Destruction is a worldwide problem that humankind needs to address right now.

      Only the oil and gas industry plus the automotive industry refuse to accept this. They need to accept this now if humankind is to survive.

      • Peter
        Do not forget the coal industry.

        Global coal production is expected to expand for a few years yet, as gas projects are struggling to fill the gap ( primarily through the expansion of LNG ) and the requirements of India and China.


        Global coal,production is around 7 Billion Tonnes per year. This contrasts with 101 Million Tonnes by the NCB in its best year after the ‘plan for coal’ in the 1980s, when we were dependant on coal prior to the large move to North Sea Gas.

        Coal remains the worlds primary source of energy for power production and is second after oil for overall use ( as primary coal fired transport has all but disappeared ).


        It may be easy to think that the issue is one of big oil and gas companies and nasty capitalism, but it is a bit more complex than that, with nation states leading the charge, other than fracking oil and gas, it would seem.

      • Peter -I’ve been taking notes of people’s opinion on climate change and there actually seem has higher proportion of antifrackers who are climate change deniers that people who work in the oil industry. This was at first surprising but on reflection it’s hardly surprising that a group of people who are anti science contain a lot of people who deny man made climate change.

        • So there we have it ladies and gentlemen boys and girls, the turncoat argument ownership protocol in full view in all its CO2 poisoned methane soaked gory, just as I said would happen.

          As soon as anthropogenic initiated climate change became undeniable and irrefutable, the less scrupulous elements would make a belated attempt to make a claim on the concept as if all that deny deny deny never happened.

          So here ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls we see the first attempts at claiming climate change for their own purposes.

          Hypocritical? Very. Yes.

          Obfuscatory? Undoubtedly. Yes.

          Attempt to denigrate and marginalise those who have fought for the concept of climate change to be even recognised, let alone dealt with? Of course. That is the purpose and as we have seen before, these feet of clay profiteers must never be seen to be wrong, hence this effort to “own” the argument.

          So we now see this unsubstantiated claim that protectors did not have climate change at the root of every word and action, which of course they do and have always said so, and such an attempt to say so is the diametric reversal of the truth as can be proved here by examining the posts from the protectors.

          But as we know the fossil fuel fools must never appear to be wrong on anything, so hence this reversal of the truth.

          Perhaps that having been proved fundamentally wrong over their opposition and abject denial of anthropogenic climate change issue, that these turncoats will now attempt to claim climate change as their own and further claim they were the sacrificial fighters to get anthropogenic climate recognised all along.

          The next step will be to attempt to say that only these “armchair experts” who have argued against climate change all along, can have any say whatsoever in what can be, or will be done about preventing further climate change decay.

          They will do nothing of course, they just want to “own” the argument but carry on as before.

          Sheer hypocrisy isn’t it, but watch this space to see how far they are willing to push it while doing precisely nothing.

          In fact they are even attempting to accelerate the fossil fuel cause of climate change by further extraction and exploration and attempting to make such processes Nationally Significant Infrastructure.

          So there we have it ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, no more than a transparent attempt to “own” the argument.

          Next it will be an attempt to “own” the concept of renewable energy resources won’t it.

          Just remember when reading these attempts to own subjects.

          That there is only one rule that the PR hot deskers operate by, no proof, no honesty, no ethics and no admitting that they are ever wrong.

          Fascinating isn’t it.

          [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

          • Hot desires? Clearly my spell checker has a sense of humour?

            That should be “hot deskers” in the penultimate paragraph.


              • Ha ha PhilC. Fairy dust interview. What else do expect him to say?


                Demand currently 40GW; renewables (including biomass) <10GW. To replace the 30GW you will need to install 300% more renewables just for now. What about 4 hours ago when there was no PV, what about no wind……

                Batteries will go some way but not far.

                We could dam up the Lake District and store energy that way with pumped hydro. Not cheap and not going to happen.

                • Dear me. Paul Trest(o). Hilarious! A descent into such a “fairy dust” remark was worthy of a gottabextremist wasnt it?

                  Perhaps it only goes to prove what i have always said, the sillier and more degrading you lot become in your accusations, the closer we are to the truth, and apparently that Unearthed report got far too close to the bone for comfort didnt it, hence your little silliness. A bit sad though really.

                  And also such a concept reflects your own mindset as usual and as such is a tad typically desperate too?

                  But no matter, we understand….Theresa May will resign it seems, i realise how much that must sting….

                  Change is happening whether its words or action Paul, of course it is words that are easy, as you demonstrate here only too well, whereas actual action is much more difficult.

                  But words are the first step towards action, and then that will be the game changer, whether you fossil fuel PR guys like it or not.

                  It must be tough to admit it, hence your weak little remark….more hot desires perhaps?

                • As regards energy where no wind is apparent, that is well out of date, did you look at the video i posted on the innovative sophisticated savonius rotor wind turbines that still revolve when the air is so still that leaves do not move?

                  No, I bet you didnt. However you may be interested to know that there is no such thing as still air, even locally, due to the Coriolis effect of the Earths rotation and the equatorial and temperate zone divisions and the vertical differentiation in air movement, all these can be exploited if we are clever enough, its not rocket science, its simply a matter of technological adaptation and political and social commitment. Also each country that has more or less of each resource simply needs to agree to share the energy produced, therby binding country to country politically and in energy terms and then maybe there will be less division and conflict.

                  And then of course there is tidal and wave power, temperature differential between sea bed and land, artificial lakes in mountains that discharge down sea level lakes, and then of course there is the electromagnetic energy that is produced by our star and the similar core of the Earth that is stiil an untapped resource, and then there is the very hot Earths interior and the much cooler surface with regular natural hotspots.

                  We are in the infancy, much like your comment, of totally renewable energy resources and although we are learning, what will really accelerate that will be political and social, if not corporate commitment to do so.

                  So, sorry old thing, there are many resources we could use if we were clever enough and had the commitment to do, and that old chestnut of no wind does not spin the fossil fuel cause any more.

                • I like the vertical turbines. But why is no one building them? Why are Scottish Power not installing them? At least you appear to agree that the whole country can be windless at times, usually when we need a lot of heating and electricity. At least for conventional turbines such as those used by SP.

                  No problem for me to see Mrs. May go. The UK could do with a coalition government, something in the centre, no ERC and no Corbyn. But that won’t really change energy policy. Fracking may be banned although even Scotland appear to be still unsure about that. But gas will continue to provide a significant part of our heating and electricity for another 30 years at least.

                  As for climate change, we are in the hands of India / China / Asia / Africa even the US.

                • Actually that is not what I said at all, but if taking something out of context and ignore the provisos and conditionals and refuse to acknowledge the existence of anything else, like tide, wave, heat differential, solar, electromagnetic, hydro electric and many others, then…

                  Hey, knock yourself out?

                  You might want to look at the video below, that explains the growing real world situation regarding the rise and rise of renewable energy resources and the fall and fall of fossil fuel energy resources’

                  Even in Saudi Arabia, as they are beginning to recognise they have no more than thirty years and change over to renewables must be now, while they can afford to.

                  And around the world many others including China and India, and it would be the same here and in the USA, and was doing so before the present failing incumbent’s recidivist inertia.

                  That much more accurately represent the real world situation.

              • Big up the Sweds, Danes and Spainiards! With their renewable offerings!
                But are we living in the UK?, where a UK based onshore exploration company Cuadrilla is going to contribute to the UK tax, employment and energy benefits of the Country? But you cannot haul your waitrose shopping all over the country neither can you fly your peruvian product during a UK winter by electrical energy!
                Think again Phil C it doesnt make any sense… Energy of all means can work together.

                • Ahh, another step in for Paul Tresto is it, “Judith” darling on holiday? Let Paul speak for himself, i am sure there is plenty of fairy dust PR multiple ID’s left left in the snake oil barrel for that?

                  Its not me who wants to think again Eli Gob, (that is deliberate spelling for your deliberately misspelling of Liberal Democrat Wera Hobhouse’ name, you reap what you sow).

                  It is the fossil fuel few who need to think again, globally times are changing we either go with it, or we get left behind and we get our dumb ass kicked by the planets rapidly accelerating climate change and that will be our fault, it is only political and fossil fuel corporate recidivist inertia which prevents us from doing so.

                  That must change, there is no alternative, this is not a drill, hmm, that is an interesting analogy isnt it….?

                  The simple fact is that we all have to work together towards a totally renewable future, its the only intelligent way forward to the future, nothing else will work.

                  Like i said before, we share renewable resources with our neighbours, when their renewable systems are disabled or politically or corporately sabotaged, we share energy and make social and political bonds that will last longer than divisive jealous and incompetent greed and “power” mongering. Then when our renewable energy resource systems are down or reduced, our neighbours reciprocate and everyone is happy and we build bridges, maybe even literal bridges as well as figurative bridges, and not do as we are doing now, which is to burn every possible real and political and social bridge around us….

                  That brings us back together politically and socially and as we have seen with brexit so very recently, fighting for political supremacy only leads to political and social division and collapse.

                  You think again, i have done all the thinking for you.

        • Judith

          Out of interest are those people exclusively in the UK, or is that a broader church ( you said in a past post that you worked abroad a fair amount ).

          • Hewes62 – I’ve just been checking on the UK. You’re correct that I travel a massive amount and in most places I go people are just happy to get food for the day – concerns about fracking tend to be from people who haven’t got anything important to do in their lives.

    • Government wording of permitted development.

      ‘Permitted development rights are subject to conditions and limitations to control impact and to protect local amenity’

      Fracking would still not get through the planning system. There would be to many conditions and limitations.

    • Actually BTW the Chinese situation is a bit more interesting than that, watch this video, i’ve posted it before but clearly there are those who will not look at something that breaks the usual trotted out weaponised narrative, so i post it here one more time, i hope that is acceptable just this once Paul and Ruth.

      Watch from around 12 minutes in, it explains the claim that China have made, that promoting and acceleration the use of fossil fuels, notably coal, was a means to an end to get renewable energy resources up and going and that is happening far more than any other nation, and now the Chinese exceed any other nation in utilising renewable energy resources.

      Of course the inevitable cost was not just to the health of their own populace, but to the world wide acceleration of climate change too. Their argument is of course, that the populace health sacrifice, and the world wide climate change sacrifice, was the price of moving to 100% renewable energy resources.

      It is interesting to note that the UK had and has no such excuse to exploit fossil fuel energy resources at the expense of renewable energy resources before that entirely supersedes the need for fossil fuels, and here that situation never did exist, we could have changed within twenty years way back in the early 1980’s and perhaps we would have exported that expertise out to China and before this present dire climate change situation would ever have reached the danger that it has

      We have never needed to accelerate local and planet wide pollution and climate change to reach the 100% renewable energy resources use target in the UK.

      We could have done that right away, the fact that this failing, if not all ready fatally failed and discredited government have inserted all this fossil fuel reliance inertia into the climate change equation is frankly suicidally insane.

      But as we all know and as we have seen regularly here on Drill or Drop, exclusive fossil fuel reliance money talks until it is too late to avoid the question any more, and then as we also see here, suddenly they all appear to be shouting for that change after all, and then seek to claim that they always supported that necessary change.

      Hypocrisy rules UK it seems.

  2. Every little helps Tw and just think of the fresh water we would save by not fracking. Best that we get our own house in order before criticising other countries policies

  3. Every little helps Fifi??

    Odd that doesn’t apply to the antis who trash their camps with vast heaps of plastic and others recording and exciting thanks to the use of 3 litre diesels. Looks more like a minority easing their own conscious, rather than getting any house in order.

  4. My conscious is fine reaction. I do my bit in respect of transport, food production and energy efficiency. However, I use oil and gas and whilst I continue to do that I would like it produced in UK, if possible, so I can do a bit more.

    I can recommend it, reaction. I have done my bit by investing some resource myself. I certainly do not expect anyone to compensate me for quitting diesel, or introducing an air sourced heat pump. Maybe with a bit more UK on shore oil and gas production industry will pay more tax, I will have to pay less, and then I can do a bit more. Except, I will have to pay my bit of the £500m annual excess charge for ONE wind farm within my utility bills, so maybe somewhat constrained. But you could always add to my effort to compensate! Go on, you know you want to.

  5. Good to see this being debated. I hope it gets the full attention and scrutiny it deserves before the Tory party gets turned a political arm of the O&G industry (as the Republicans have been in the U.S.), controlled by lobbyists and bypassing any real concern for environmental degradation and climate change impacts.

  6. Stop the shake and frack
    & block plans to fast track
    Stop the shake and frack
    ” It will be a huge step back”

    If we want our air fresh and our water too
    If we want to reduce emissions we know what we must do

    Stop the shake and frack…………

        • Yes Fifi, humourless fossils aren’t they.

          I’ve seen more joy in a pile of coprolites’ in the Natural History Museum?

          All that gas?

          That must have been a very flatulent hadrosaur?

          I cant say I see the attraction myself?

          But perhaps like seeks like after all….

    • Pointless poem, whats that all mean?
      Whos shaking?, i the UK you have fresh air and water! We have been producing Offshore UK oil and gas for near on 50 years, i didnt hear much complaining when you couldnt see it, but you were happy to live your lives and explote it! Hypocrisy…
      Be thankful you live in a safe environment!

    • Interesting to see such usage of fossil fuels Fifi. Enjoy, before their demise eliminates TV advertising, and TVs, and laptops, and etc.etc.etc.

  7. Is that the same Westminster that agreed to the excess of £500m PER YEAR, for one wind turbine site, PhilipP? Wonder who lobbied that one! Or, previous to that, £150k net income per turbine per year for landowners, whether they generated or not. Few lobbyists to get that through.

    Think you will find the alternative sector are just as involved trying to control political decisions.

Add a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s