THE Conservative Government has announced “New measures to back British shale gas exploration” - a move that rides roughshod over our democracy and should be treated as a national scandal.

Included in the plans was the possibility to allow fracking companies like INEOS and Third Energy to drill risky exploratory wells under permitted development without the need for planning permission and completely removing any chance for local communities and councils to have their voices heard.

You would need less planning approval for a shale gas well than

say a new conservatory or garden wall.

Furthermore the Government will consider adding shale gas production applications into the “Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects” portfolio.

A move that would further erode the public’s ability to democratically challenge the fracking industry.

The Government’s own surveys show that only 17 per cent of the population are in favour of fracking and the vast majority support renewables (circa 80 per cent).

Rather than buckling under the pressure being applied by the likes of INEOS, whose owner Jim Ratcliffe is now the country’s richest man, the Government should stand by it citizens and seriously reconsider its dangerous and dated policies on fracking and implement an immediate ban.

Russell Scott, Cropton

Stop the support

THE CPRE has said that the Government’s announcement on pushing ahead with fracking amounts to an “outright assault on local communities”.

So who does the Government listen to on this issue?

The majority of the people who don’t want it, the scientists who say it is potentially dangerous and does not address climate change – no it listens to a multi-billionaire who only wants to make even more money (mainly from plastics) despite the consequences.

By treating the drilling of wells as “permitted development” (just as in a very small rear house extension), the Government are allowing the industry to drill wherever they please - in the field next to your house or your children’s school with no planning controls or thought for the community.

Stop this support for an unnecessary and potentially dangerous industry and invest in renewables now and create thousands of decent jobs.

Glyn Wild, Swinton

Scare tactics

IT was reported on May 16 that the “UK could miss its green targets”.

The commons Environmental Audit Committee has warned “that clean energy is now at its lowest since 2008” down 56 per cent in 2017. It is of no surprise because this Government has now:

1 Closed the Renewables Obligation to onshore wind one year earlier than had previously been announced;

2 Removed the Climate Change Levy (CCL) exemptions for renewables;

3 Reduced Feed-in-Tariffs for small scale renewable generation;

4 Cancelled the Zero Carbon Homes policy which was due to come into force in 2016.

All this makes the Government’s claim to be green and environmentally-friendly extremely disingenuous, now that they plan to accelerate fracking developments, against the wishes of communities who would be affected.

On May 17, the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced plans that could lead to the drilling of shale gas wells in England, become “permitted development” without needing a planning application.

This Government is also making “noises” about reducing the production of single use plastics. Good, one might think, but at same time supporting private companies to frack at will.

This country does not rely on Russia for gas. We receive less than one per cent of our gas from Russia and, as Phil and Chris Rowland write in the Gazette & Herald, May 16, Russia relies heavily on its oil and gas exports.

This is scaremongering by people like Boris Johnson. We currently import 70 per cent of our gas from Norway and around 15 per cent from Qatar.

We are so sufficient in gas reserves that we export 30 per cent to Ireland.

Sue Cuthbert, Newton-on-Rawcliffe

Thanks for help

ON Monday, May 14, at about 3pm, while walking to the station, I tripped and fell in Yorkersgate in Malton.

Two kind and anonymous ladies picked me up and took me to the surgery. One saw that I received attention at the surgery and the other met my son at the station and brought him to the surgery. I wish to thank them for their help and kindness.

Barbara Wood, Malton