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Fracking guidance for local authorities – should they be national infrastructure?

It is no secret that the issue of fracking consents has been fraught with controversy over the last few years. It shows no signs of abating.

With this background, the Communities and Local Government Committee has announced that it will be examining, amongst other things, whether guidance for local authorities taking planning decisions on fracking applications needs to be updated or improved. 

The outcome could have more significant implications than is obvious at first blush; the Committee is also considering whether fracking applications should be dealt with under the Planning Act 2008, thereby fundamentally altering the role of local authorities in the process.

The specific questions posed by the Committee are as follows:

  • Is there the need to update and improve the guidance available?
  • Is there the need for a comprehensive document incorporating existing and updated guidance?
  • What is the status – in planning terms – of the extant Government guidance?
  • Should applications for fracking be dealt with as national infrastructure under the 2008 Planning Act?

The deadline for submissions is 14 March 2018 and can be done here.

Yaaser appeared in the Court of Appeal in R (Preston New Road Action Group) v SSCLG and Cuadrilla [2018] EWCA Civ 9