Council calls for clarity on effect of fracking on planning policy
Fife Council is calling for clarity on planning policy around fracking in Scotland after concerns were raised over proposals to remove councils from the decision-making process.
A letter, signed by Amber Rudd MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Elizabeth Truss, MP Secretary of State for Environment and Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, was sent to Chancellor George Osborne last July was recently leaked to Friends of the Earth, who have asserted that the UK government is planning to take decision-making away from local councils around non-conventional energy applications.
Although these proposals appear to chiefly apply in England, Fife Council’s depute leader, Councillor Lesley Laird, said the situation for nationally significant infrastructure projects is unclear.
UK ministers have involvement in national, large scale developments that are explicitly identified in the National Planning Framework (there are currently 14 in Scotland) such as the Forth Replacement Crossing, or electricity grid reinforcements.
Councillor Laird has now written to the three MPs asking them to confirm that Scottish local authorities still have legitimate authority for non-conventional energy applications.
Ms Laird said: “Scottish local authorities work under the general principle that planning decisions are taken at local level. That’s why I’m requesting ministers to confirm that planning application assessments remain local, and that there is no intention to alter the authority of Scottish councils in relation to non-conventional energy applications.”