The government is facing a fresh legal challenge to its proposals to fast-track new fracking sites by loosening planning regulations. Ministers said this summer they would drop the requirement for shale gas wells to obtain planning permission by designating fracking sites as national infrastructure projects. Greg Clark, the business secretary, used a written ministerial statement to tell local authorities they should abide by a definition of fracking that campaigners say is looser than the current one. Opponents say the new definition allows some companies to claim that their operations do not meet the technical definition of fracking and therefore do not have to face tougher planning decisions. On Monday a high court will decide whether to allow a legal challenge, brought by the mayor of a town in north Yorkshire against two government departments, on the grounds they should have undertaken an assessment required by EU law before Clark’s statement.
Guardian 4th Nov 2018 read more »