No need to revise health review on fracking impacts, says minister

The government dismissed another call this week for an update of the review of research on the health impacts of shale gas extraction.

It was responding to a question by Sarah Wollaston, the Conservative chair of the health select committee. She asked whether the government had commissioned a new review from Public Health England of the research on shale gas impacts.

The health minister, Steve Brine, said PHE had no reason to change the conclusions it reached in 2014.

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Fracking equated to building a conservatory.

The government has proposed new planning guidance for shale gas development in England and is planning a separate consultation on whether non-hydraulic fracturing shale exploration development should be treated as a permitted development, further weakening planning controls on the industry.                                                                Green groups expressed outrage – they say permitted development was intended for loft conversions, not gas drilling.
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Government seeks views on proposals to bypass local council control of shale gas schemes

Two consultations opened this afternoon on government proposals to fast-track decisions on shale gas developments in England.

One proposal is to allow shale gas exploration projects to go-ahead without the need for a planning application. The government wants to make non-fracking projects permitted development. This is system currently in place for small house extensions, installation of garden sheds and change of use of offices.

The other proposal is to classify major shale gas production developments as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. This would take them out of local authority control and give decisions to the Local Government Secretary.

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Ministerial Campaign

 
Dear Roseacre Awareness Group folk
 
I’m sure you’ll already be aware of the government’s recent announcement of their proposal to reclassify many aspects of the fracking process as permitted development – a category designed for minor home improvements. The proposal stands to give the green light to fracking companies all over the country. 
 
A campaign is building now to persuade ministers to drop the proposal. We think this is winnable but it will take all of us campaigning hard in our localities to head off the threat. A few groups have come together to kick start the campaign and support local groups like yours to carry the fight. The government is running a consultation on the proposal over the summer, for 3 months from mid July, and the plan is to get campaign activity going around the country to coincide with the start of that consultation with a launch week w/c 23rd July.
 
The fight will really be won though by local groups and individuals coming together to fight this proposal. The aim is to galvanise a broad movement across traditional political divides with two main aims:
  • Persuade key local elected representatives – MPs, councillors and council leaders – to speak out publicly on the issue, and to apply pressure privately to ministers to drop the proposal. 
  • Develop and sustain a high profile local public campaign to demonstrate overwhelming public opposition to this plan. 
 
Many people are outraged by the assault on local democracy that this proposal represents, as well as the fracking threat, and the campaign offers a great chance for groups to do outreach locally and bring new people into the campaign. 
 
I’m attaching a campaign briefing with this email that offers some more information about the campaign. Other resources to support individuals and groups will become available soon. It would be great to have a chat about what is or could happen in your area, and to keep in touch with how the campaign develops where you are. My number is 07914 762941 or of course you can contact me on this email. If you’re happy to share contact details please do as that will help us to keep in touch and connect you with others interested to get involved in your area.
 
There is a campaign webinar planned for Monday 16th July for anyone interested in the campaign to share inspiration and support, and I’ll send through details of this as soon as I have them. In the meantime, check out the campaign website www.letcommunitiesdecide.org which will also be home to campaign resources as they become available. If you would be able to include the campaign and website on the RAG website that would be great too – thanks!
 
Best wishes
Sebastian Kelly