Regulation

Mayor of London stands firm against fracking in planning policy

sadiq khan London.gov.uk

Sadiq Khan. Photo: London.gov.uk

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has rejected the recommendation of the Planning Inspectorate to drop an anti-fracking policy from the London Plan.

The document, which will shape planning decisions in London for the next 20-25 years, included a policy to:

“refuse development proposals for exploration, appraisal or production of shale gas via hydraulic fracturing.”

There are currently no exploration licences for oil or gas in London. A report by the British Geological Survey concluded there was “no significant Jurassic shale gas potential in the Weald Basin”.

Despite this, Mr Khan said he was “strongly opposed to the exploration and production of shale gas in London”.

He said he considered it “vital” to have a London-wide planning policy on fracking and that his proposed policy, SI11, was justified. He said:

“it is important to emphatically preclude exploration and development of any reserves that do exist.”

He said the policy was consistent with legislation and the government’s position:

“The Mayor considers that the policy is necessary to continue to guarantee that hydraulic fracturing will not negatively impact London into the future.”

A London Plan without policy SI11 would be inconsistent with strategies to be zero carbon by 2050 and to meet the capital’s energy needs from low carbon electricity, Mr Khan said.

“It is important that there is a clear position on hydraulic fracturing in the London Plan so that proposals do not undermine this, particularly given the technology to develop and implement carbon capture and storage does not yet exist.”

Mr Khan was responding to the recommendation of a panel of three inspectors who had examined the draft London Plan. The panel’s report concluded that the policy on fracking was “unnecessary”.

The report said the Mayor’s concerns about dust, noise, visual intrusion, traffic and lighting from fracking related to most large urban areas:

“Given the support in national policy [for shale gas development], they provide inadequate justification for the approach taken.

“The policy and the reasoned justification should be deleted in its entirety.”

The inspectors said SI11 provided “a blanket restriction on the exploration, appraisal or production of shale gas via hydraulic fracturing within London”.

“the approach would be fundamentally inconsistent with the direction of national policy, which sets out the need to explore and develop shale gas and oil resources in a safe, sustainable and timely way.”

The policy would also “restrict the assessment of development proposals on a case by case basis”, the inspectors said.

Mr Khan argued that a successful legal challenge brought earlier this year by anti-fracking campaigner Claire Stephenson had removed specific support for hydraulic fracturing from the National Planning Policy Framework.

He suggested that written ministerial statements supporting shale gas but issued before the government’s 2050 target of net zero carbon emissions should now be given less weight.

He also cited the government statement on the moratorium on fracking announced in November 2019. This said it was not possible to predict accurately the probability of tremors and that unacceptable impacts on local communities could not be ruled out.

The final version of the London Plan is due to be published in March 2020.

20 replies »

  1. So, he is against something which is not going to happen!

    Conversely, something that should have happened, Cross Rail, is not going to happen for some time yet.

    I’m sure the good folk of London will be amused.

  2. Good for Sadiq Khan, his anti-fracking stance will help all of us who are fighting fracking. You never know where they’ll target next for testing for shale gas.

    • Now we see the Russian influencers and the climate science deniers and fossil fuel corporations moving within this compromised Tory government. The interests that funded the Tory elections are moving quickly to place their representatives into the next targets for their operations.

      Boris Johnson Appoints Climate Science Denier as Wales Minister and Assistant Whip
      https://www.desmog.co.uk/2019/12/19/boris-johnson-appoints-climate-science-denier-wales-minister-and-assistant-whip
      By Mat Hope • Thursday, December 19, 2019 – 14:47

      Major Tory Donor and Johnson Backer to Lead UK Climate Science Denial Group
      By Richard Collett-White • Wednesday, December 18, 2019 – 12:56

      https://www.desmog.co.uk/2019/12/18/major-tory-donor-and-johnson-backer-lead-uk-climate-science-denial-group

      And further afield after the collapse of COP25 in Madrid, in the failure to achieve any real action on environmental issues. It appears that there too, it was an inside job.
      COP25: Over 40 Gulf State Delegates Are Current or Former Employees of Fossil Fuel Companies | DeSmog UK
      https://www.desmog.co.uk/2019/12/13/cop25-over-40-gulf-state-delegates-are-current-or-former-employees-fossil-fuel-companies

      • Ahh, more conspiracies!

        Bit lost to see how an appointment of a Tory Wales Minister will have any influence regarding climate policy in Wales. Labour control the Welsh Parliament-for the moment. Wonder if a Tory Scottish Minister, by the same token, would have any sway over Queen Nicola?

        Gulf State delegates had connections to fossil fuel. Shock/horror. Not too many Gulf State delegates who would have a camel breeding connection, other than a secondary interest. Bit like stating some delegates from the Faroes had connections with the fishing industry. That is what happens when many countries are brought together. Some countries have quite different interests from others, and today, those interests need to be considered seriously. Gun boat “diplomacy” is so old school. Besides which, the Sovereign Wealth Funds of some of those Gulf States dictate who can afford gun boats.

        • You have left me absolutely distraught that I can not match your standards, in your own eyes, Martin!

          However, I have now recovered, having noted how you have manufactured your “outrage” and “conspiracy theories”.

          I suggest if that is the only way you have left to deal with my comments, you simply ignore them rather than become so excitable.

          Meanwhile, I will stick to the reality, so best for you to avoid.

          • If you need the comfort blanket of conspiracy theory, that avoids reality, David, I am sure it helps!

            I see Mr. Johnson has been advocating the benefits of fracking!!

            Goodness, that one could have legs. No one will notice it was a different Mr. Johnson. But he does live in London, so perhaps Mr. Khan had a crystal ball? LOL.

            • Apparently you can’t even practice what you preach Martin. There is that selective memory again.

              Didn’t the moderator Paul Seaman tell you not to pursue this self destructive line of childish temper tantrum? Paul might say that, i couldn’t possibly comment.

              Chill out, Martin. Obsession with me does not exactly enhance your credibility. Quite the opposite.

              However, having noted how you are still manufacturing your own fatally illusory “outrage” and “conspiracy theories twaddle” and to swaddle yourself in that comfort blanket you clearly love so much.

              I suggest that if that is the only way you have left to deal with my comments. Is that you simply ignore them. Rather than become so visibly and so laughably and vacuously excitable to your own detriment.

              I will continue to stick to the reality. So if you cant handle reality. And as i see you cant. Then it will be best for you to avoid commenting in such a laughably vacuous manner.

              Meanwhile on more demonstrably stable ground back in the real world. Boris seems to be selling off the defence crown jewels, which makes Brexit a joke. Since without a viable defence business. UK is just dead in the water waiting for any political predator to come along and take another bite.

              The NHS will be next.

              ‘Handing control away’: UK’s sale of Cobham defence firm to US company decried
              https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/dec/21/andrea-leadsom-approves-takeover-of-cobham-defence-firm-by-us-company

              Perhaps its time to re-embrace Theresa May, and dust off “Russian Poison Attack” and “Russian influence in elections”?? However, noted the failure to acknowledge the Russian influence and interference in UK elections. Let alone clamping down on Russian and climate science denier donations and fossil fuel corporation influenced voter fraud. That avenue will be avoided and will not be about to be opened for public scrutiny.

              More falsehood from Boris and his compromised government. Less truth – What’s not to despise?

              • Ahh, now the conspiracy theory that the State owns private companies!

                So, Cobham, who have a very successful US business have been acquired by a US outfit. Meanwhile, UK continue to purchase defence kit from US. All seems normal. Perhaps, next, UK will buy some of their chicken, like we do their oil and gas?

                I did believe DoD was supposed to be about oil and gas, rather than politics and conspiracies. Is there no one to engage with you on those type of sites David? I have been generous to accommodate your off piste posts, but I suspect Paul is fast losing patience.

                • Ahh, so the accused seeks to instruct the judge and jury! That’s a guilty sentence if ever i saw one!

                  Chill out, Martin. It will soon be Christmas! Though Santa’s will ask you, ‘Have you been Naughty or Nice Martin?’ thats going to be a laugh and a half looking at that ever growing list of “Naughty”, wont it? There must be a “Nice” down there somewhere? Though i cant see one.

                  And then more conspiracy theories Martin! Do you really think everything is conspiracy theories? Obviously you do?
                  Well maybe you really do need that theoretical conspiratorial comfort blanket to pretend to twaddle down in?

                  And that is certainly nothing to do with fracking and fossil fuel oil and gas is it. I did believe Drill or Drop was supposed to be about fossil fuels, fracking and oil and gas? Rather than all that politics and conspiracy theories you go on about all the time instead of adult conversation..
                  Is there no one to engage with you on those type of sites Martin?

                  I have been more than generous to accommodate your piste off posts and twaddle conspiracy theories. Your utter failure to tell the truth. I suspect Martin, Paul has long since lost patience with you. How you have been allowed to post such twaddle for so long. Since it is you who are dragging out the twaddle and conspiracy theories contrary to Pauls instruction. Not me.

                  And still not practising what you preach Martin? Can anyone take anything you say seriously when it is so clearly and laughably excitable to your own detriment?

                  I suggest that if that is the only way you have left to deal with my comments. Is that you simply ignore them. Rather than become so visibly and so laughably and vacuously excitable to your own detriment.

                  Perhaps this is more to your taste?

                  Oil, gas & gold: the investors funding the election campaigns
                  https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/12/11/donations-election-campaign-investments-fossil-fuels/

                  So. Do you not understand the importance that selling off UK military expertise and the effects on military and energy security? And for every industry let alone the fossil fuel industry in UK. And further afield in the Persian Gulf as demonstrated recently. But maybe such a fundamentally important concept of military ownership and energy security is beyond those who unable to appreciate the complexity of the real world in any capacity whatsoever.

                  Keep it up Martin. I always enjoy a good laugh over Christmas. But Santa may not be so amused.

                  Ho! Ho! Ho!

                • Share holders normally decide if a company is sold, David-once any other considerations have been exhausted. Strangely, they have a habit of deciding if a new owner may offer them a better return for the money they have invested in said company.

                  Interesting, that so little comment about another defence company where the Governments decision was the other way, at just about the same time.

                  Doesn’t quite make the same narrative of selling off all companies-but, reality is not the same as conspiracy theory, is it?

                  Ahh, energy security! Welcome from the dark side. UK oil and gas production, where possible, Nord Stream 2 stopped. Quite agree, energy security is important. Why risk it when there is resource available locally?

                  A conversion has been achieved!

                • Still unable to admit the truth Martin?
                  These past meandering circumnavigations of yours attempting to avoid the reality of the matter will avail you nothing.
                  This is the ghost of Chickens Past.

                • Look at the truth today Martin. Further prevarication will only invite the next ghost.

                  The ghost of Chickens Present.

                • Beware the result of continuing to avoid the truth about everythingMartin.
                  Your future fate is in peril.

                  The ghost of chickens yet to be.

                • Don’t fret David.

                  Conversion to the importance of energy security is a noble achievement, and you can enter 2020 re-defined as a realist.

                  Almost a mirror image of the 1970s!

                  Christmas past? Oh, IMF cancelled Christmas then. Wouldn’t want to return there, would we?

                • Interesting how the mind works isnt it. The truth will always emerge somewhere, no matter what evasions are made.

                  ‘Martin has his/her own reasons for misrepresenting the possibilities. Not the first time that in the face of actual evidence the contrary has been suggested.

                  Children do that until they are around 6. After that age, they realised it made them look foolish and their comments would not be trusted if they continued.’

                  Those words have tripped you up AGAIN Martin! Just cant help but confess to your own behaviour can you? The truth will always emerge somewhere, apparently right from your own words in FACT.

                  Give a man enough rope etc etc etc —

  3. Next Mayor will be Rory Stewart ex-MP for Penrith & Borders. I wonder what his position will be? Of course if the geology is not hydrocarbon bearing then this is an easy position to take (as Martin has noted).

    But PINS have set a precedent for other areas where the geology may be more interesting.

  4. All fracking should be banned from UK. It’s been disastrous in US. The methane emissions from 1 site over 20 days equaled total emisions from most of Europe for a year

    • But the US, who are leaving the Paris agreement, have done more to combat climate change through emissions reduction than the EU when offset emissions are included? Europe farms it’s emissions out overseas to China etc while the US imposes tariffs and reduces it’s imports and produces more products at home. Shale gas in the US is replacing coal and has made a major contribution to reducing the emissions in the US.

      Most of Europe? Are you talking about oil and gas associated methane emissions only? What does this mean? Do you mean excluding Norway and the UK – the only countries with any meaningful hydrocarbon production? Do you include agriculture and biogenic emissions?

      Please clarify Julia Hay.

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