Talk Fracking has threatened legal action against the UK government, accusing the latter of not holding a strategic environmental assessment before issuing a revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) last month on fracking.
In this regard, the campaigning group issued a pre-action legal letter to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (SofS) James Brokenshire.
After the publication of the revised NPPF during the last parliamentary day before Summer recess, UK Energy Minister Greg Clark issued the first permit to Cuadrilla to begin fracking at a well in Lancashire.
Cuadrilla is expected to commence fracking in late August or early September 2018 at the Preston New Road site, located between Blackpool and Preston.
Talk Fracking accused Brokenshire of incorporating the Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) of the then Energy and Climate Change Secretary of State Amber Rudd from 16 September 2015 without consulting on a fair basis and also by not carrying out a strategic environmental assessment.
Rudd’s WMS, which has been adopted by Brokenshire, reads that on-shore oil and gas development, including unconventional hydrocarbons, are needed for energy supplies security and for supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Talk Fracking lead Joe Corré said: “Fracking companies are in no way guaranteeing energy security from their activities – in fact the UK’s biggest fracker, INEOS, uses fracked gas imported from America to produce more and more disposable plastic. That’s the same plan for fracked gas from the UK.
“Amber Rudd’s statement has also been proven totally wrong in terms of its claims about fracking’s role in a low-carbon economy, a requirement in terms of our obligations to the Climate Change Act 2008.
Corré went on to say that fracking is worse than coal in terms of emissions.
Talk Fracking said that it expects a reply from Brokenshire in the next few days to its letter. The group threatened to take legal action early next month should it find the reply to be unacceptable.
In October 2016, the UK government gave its approval for drilling of four exploratory shale gas wells in north-west England, after overruling a decision by a local council to refuse consent.