Cheque Book Planning Consultation – please respond

"Why won't these local authorities allow fracking? Let's throw some more money at them ..."

“Why won’t these local authorities allow fracking? Let’s throw some more money at them …”

The government has launched a consultation on their policy of ‘rewarding’ local authorities for allowing fracking in their areas.

Their plan is for local authorities to keep 100% of the business rates associated with fracking (the usual amount is 50%). We feel this is tantamount to a bribe and, as central government funding  of local authorities is being cut, councils may feel that the financial pressure  to accept this payoff are too great to refuse. You can read more about this attempt at ‘cheque book planning’ in the Guardian.

There is more information on the consultation onthe gov.uk website, and here’s the link to the consultation document itself.

Please email or write to Mr Hopkins MP, who is leading the consultation, and say why allowing local authorities to keep the business rates generated from fracking is wrong. (see below for contact details). Please write this in your own words – they take less notice of form letters in these sorts of consultations. Here are some points you can make in your response:

  • It compromises the integrity and independence of local authorities when making decisions about fracking in their area.
  • It is contrary to the statutory requirement for planning decisions to be made independently, and therefore may well be illegal.
  • The general public will have no confidence that the planning authority will make an independent decision based on local concerns  when they are being offered such incentives at a time of austerity and budget cuts.
  • Instead of being rewarded for protecting the natural environment, councils are getting their bonuses for letting fracking take place.
  • Fracking will not help the government reach carbon targets. On the contrary, it has been shown that when the increase in traffic and leaking methane that accompanies fracking are factored in, fracking creates more greenhouse gases than coal.
  • The huge incentives and subsidies offered to the shale and gas industry are in stark contrast to the cuts in support for the renewable energy industry, which is the only way the country will achieve our legally binding target of an 80% decrease in CO2 emissions by 2030.
  • It is inappropriate to use taxpayers’ money to incentivise fossil fuel production when we urgently need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The claim that ‘The measure could be worth up to £1.7 million for a typical site’ is unfounded and unsupported by evidence.
  • When fracking causes environmental problems, the council will have to pay for the clean-up, which may mean they will have to spend more money than they gain from this scheme.There are no ‘robust rules’ to control the fracking industry, as you claim. The industry is almost entirely self-regulating and there are no laws whatsoever that are specificaly relate to fracking, which is a new technology.
  • Fracking is more likely to destroy the local economy and result in the loss of far more jobs in the local agriculture and tourism industries than it creates.
  • The huge incentives and subsidies offered to the shale and gas industry are in stark contrast to the cuts in support for the renewable energy industry, which is the only way the country will achieve our legally binding target of an 80% decrease in CO2 emissions by 2030.
  • It is inappropriate to use taxpayers’ money to incentivise fossil fuel production when we urgently need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The claim that ‘The measure could be worth up to £1.7 million for a typical site’ is unfounded and unsupported by evidence.
  • When fracking causes environmental problems, the council will have to pay for the clean-up, which may mean they will have to spend more money than they gain from this scheme.
You can email your comments to: ndr@communities.gsi.gov.uk
Please put Business rates retention and shale oil and gas: technical consulation in the subject line.
Or you can write to:
Mr Kris Hopkins MP
Business Rates and Settlement Division
Department for Communities and Local Government
2nd Floor South East, Fry Building
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF
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  1. S. G. Darton
    November 9, 2014 at 11:28

    No bribes for fracking!! It is non-negotiable

    Reply

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