Government plans to end notification about gas and oil drilling under homes slammed – as Cuadrilla withdraws 'flawed' Balcombe application.

Government plans to end people’s right to be notified about plans to drill for gas and oil beneath their homes and land, were slammed yesterday (3 September 2013) by Friends of the Earth.

The Department for Communities and Local Government launched a consultation yesterday (Monday 2 September 2013) to change the law for onshore oil and gas planning applications, including removing the duty to notify people under whose land developers propose to drill.

Earlier today (Tuesday 3 September) fracking firm Cuadrilla announced it had withdrawn a planning application to extend its shale oil exploration near Balcombe for another six months, because of its failure to set out the full extent of its horizontal drilling plans. The move follows a number of objections to the application by Friends of the Earth and residents – including concerns about horizontal drilling. Cuadrilla says it plans to submit a new application later this month.

Earlier this year Cuadrilla was forced to obtain mining waste and radioactive substances permits before carrying out test drilling at Balcombe, following legal concerns raised by Friends of the Earth with the Environment Agency.

Friends of the Earth’s Head of Campaigns Andrew Pendleton said:

It’s astonishing that Ministers want to end people’s right to be notified about plans to drill for gas and oil under their homes.

Drilling Rig by Meredithw via Wimimedia Commons

Drilling Rig by Meredithw via Wimimedia Commons

It’s little wonder communities don’t trust the Government over fracking when their rights are so clearly being bulldozed aside to smooth the path for the big fracking firms.

Commenting on Cuadrilla’s application to withdraw its application to extend exploratory drilling for a further six months, Friends of the Earth’s Head of Campaigns Andrew Pendleton said:

This is not the first time Cuadrilla has submitted inadequate planning applications, as Friends of the Earth has previously pointed out.

We’re delighted this flawed application has been withdrawn and that people will be properly notified of the extent of the planned drilling.

But the majority of Balcombe residents won’t be happy until Cuadrilla abandons its plans altogether.”

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