Green Party leader Natalie Bennett has criticised the government’s plans to ‘fast-track’ fracking, Ms Bennett said they were evidence of it prioritising “corporations, rather than people”. Under the proposals, local residents would no longer need to be consulted before test drilling goes ahead. A new permit scheme would end the requirement for the Environment Agency to conduct a thorough environmental audit before the early stages of hydraulic fracturing can begin.
Attacking the Tory proposals Natalie Bennett said: "These proposals would see the government endanger our environment and disregard the people who would be affected. Going ahead with fracking will always have its dangers, but to begin drilling without a proper environmental audit is simply reckless, and shows what little regard ministers have for the natural environment of this country. The government knows full well the level of opposition to fracking in the UK. Its refusal to listen to the public shows where its priorities lie – squarely with corporations, rather than people."
Dr Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, attacked the Government saying: "At a time when the government should be investing in real alternatives to fossil fuels it is attempting to water down regulation in order to fast-track drilling for shale gas under our countryside. To allow companies to test drill under people’s homes and land with minimal consultation is to ignore public interest in pursuit of the vested interests of fracking firms. It’s clear that the public is turning against fracking, recognising the fact that it threatens our climate change commitments and our communities."
"Instead of pushing ahead with fracking the government must invest in renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures, thus creating decent jobs, protecting our environment and bringing down fuel bills." Dr Lucas added.
The proposed permit changes have been put out to a public consultation that closes at midnight on 15 June.