ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners attacked the government’s attempts to force through plans to allow fracking under people’s homes without their permission yesterday.
The government is pushing for the development of a shale gas industry in Britain, claiming it would create jobs and growth, reduce energy prices and cut the country’s reliance on gas imports.
But opponents have raised fears that the process causes earthquakes, can pollute water supplies, lead to inappropriate development in the countryside and damage house prices.
There are also concerns that exploiting shale gas could harm investment in renewables and undermine efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions to tackle climate change.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) yesterday said it will press ahead with plans to simplify underground access for oil and gas developers despite the objection of 99 per cent of respondents to a consultation.
Under the proposals, firms would have the right to drill at depths of 300 metres or more under private land without access rights being granted by the landowner.
In its response to the consultation, DECC said: “Having carefully considered the consultation responses, we believe that the proposed policy remains the right approach to underground access and that no issues have been identified that would mean that our overall policy approach is not the best available solution.”
Business and Energy Minister Matt Hancock said: “These new rules will help Britain to explore the great potential of our national shale gas and geothermal resources as we work towards a greener future — and open up thousands of new jobs in doing so.”
But Simon Clydesdale, energy campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: “The roar of opposition to this arrogant policy is deafening, yet ministers are determined to blithely ignore what the overwhelming majority of the British public thinks and wants.
“This move to rob people of their right to oppose fracking under their homes is the signature policy of the government’s fracking push.
“The country needs and wants clean, safe energy, and expects to be listened to.
“There’ll be a hefty political price to pay for this massive sell-out to the narrow interests of the shale lobby.”