The Department for Communities and Local Government is considering a reform of oil and gas drilling planning applications under which companies would not be required to notify communities living nearby, Friends of the Earth announced.
The campaign group has claimed that the consultation would reform the planning applications so that those living near drilling sites would not necessarily be told that oil and gas extraction is taking place.
Friends of the Earth’s head of campaigns Andrew Pendleton commented, “It’s little wonder communities don’t trust the Government over fracking when their rights are so clearly being bulldozed aside to smooth the path for the big fracking firms”.
Meanwhile, fracking company Cuadrilla, which came under fire for its presence in Balcombe, has withdrawn an application to extend the time in which it could drill for oil in the area. The permit is expiring at the end of September, and the firm initially sought a new license but then changed its plans.
It said it would reassess its programs and apply for a new planning permit to solve “any potential legal ambiguity”. The firm states it has no intention to frack in the area, instead it will consider starting other explorations in Lancashire, where a survey suggested there might be huge reserves of shale gas.
Greenpeace energy campaigner Leila Deen commented on the withdrawn application, “It’s not yet clear if this is a shift of direction or if the company merely got its sums wrong. Either way, the local council has the opportunity to revisit its previous highly controversial decision to give Cuadrilla the green light in Balcombe”.