Greens hit out at plans to boost shale gas

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - NEWS -

En­vi­ron­men­tal­ists have con­demned mea­sures an­nounced by min­is­ters aimed at mak­ing it eas­ier for firms to ex­plore shale gas de­posits and carry out fracking.

Busi­ness Sec­re­tary Greg Clark set out a se­ries of steps to stream­line the “dis­ap­point­ingly slow” plan­ning process and cre­ate “the world’s most en­vi­ron­men­tally ro­bust on­shore shale gas sec­tor”.

But en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists re­acted with fury to the plans, which in­clude a con­sul­ta­tion on al­low­ing firms in Eng­land to use plan­ning rules sim­i­lar to those for home ex­ten­sions to carry out ex­ploratory drilling for gas de­posits.

Their con­cerns were dis­missed by petro­chem­i­cals gi­ant Ineos, which said de­lays in ex­ploit­ing UK gas was lead­ing the coun­try to be­come de­pen­dent on im­ports.

Green­peace UK’s head of pol­i­tics Re­becca New­som ac­cused min­is­ters of “tram­pling over democ­racy to prop up this col­laps­ing in­dus­try”.

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