IN 2015, permitted development was introduced for minor projects such as garden sheds and porches without planning permission. Now permitted development is being used to fast-track fracking across the north of England. Areas from the Yorkshire coast to the west of York are already licensed.
Much of Harrogate district lies above the shale bed and is next in line for licensing. And all this without any involvement by our local councils. Whatever view people take on fracking, we should stand together to object to this attack on local democracy.
Local planning laws can protect communities by giving us all a voice in decisions. We should not be excluded.
A public consultation (gov.uk/consultation/permitted development) runs until October 25. We should urge our councillors and MPs to reject this abuse of the permitted development regulations.
We are repeatedly told that fracking is safe and will not disrupt our environment, health or economy.
The evidence from the US and Australia contradicts this. Fracking is a last hurrah for the oil and gas industry.
We have tidal, wave, wind and solar resources in abundance in this country. We should be exploiting them to the full.