A North Yorkshire politician is taking legal action against the government over its plans to speed up the planning process for fracking proposals.
Malton town mayor Paul Andrews has announced that he is applying for a judicial review over the ministerial statement issued by Business Secretary Greg Clark earlier this year.
The statement, which Ministers say should be considered by planning authorities, proposes new planning guidance for shale gas development in England which would radically streamline the planning process.
The Government said it will streamline and improve the regulation process for fracking planning applications so decisions are made faster, describing recent decisions as “disappointingly slow”.
Coun Andrews, who is also a member of Ryedale District Council, said: “I am taking this legal action as a private individual as I consider it my duty to protect the interests of the communities I represent.
“Fracking will industrialise our beautiful countryside and destroy our rural economy and tourist businesses. Somebody has to stand up against the bullies in government and the greed of the oil and gas industry. This is about defending your property, your family’s health and your local democratic rights. Would you want full scale industrial fracking only 300 metres from your home?”
Shale gas firm Cuadrilla was given the green light by the Government to start fracking at a well in Lancashire last month, and there are several sites in Yorkshire where firms want to carry out the controversial practise.
Fracking proposals at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire, which were expected to be approved this year, have been delated pending a review into the finances of Third Energy.
A government spokesman said: “No one benefits from delays in planning decisions and we are committed to planning reforms to ensure quicker decision making on shale applications.
“We will make sure the strongest environmental safeguards remain in place. Any proposed permitted development right would not apply to exploration in sensitive areas, including National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”