UK minister can fast-track shale projects
The British government will give its communities minister the power to directly approve shale gas permits, removing decision-making from local politicians who have in the past months blocked the progress of Britain's first such wells.
In late June, local government officials in northwest England rejected two applications to carry out fracking, saying the projects would be too noisy and blight the landscape.
New rules, applicable immediately, will allow government intervention to approve or reject permits and will also mean appeals involving shale gas projects will be given priority. Cuadrilla Resources, whose applications were rejected in June, has already decided to appeal against its permit refusals.
Delays to the planning process had been too long, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd said yesterday.
Pro-business groups welcomed the decision, saying it would help get shale gas projects up and running. But some environmental groups said local communities would be shut out from crucial decisions. (Reuters)