This is an issue which concerns me greatly and I know worries many constituents. So I was pleased to have been able to make my views heard in a special Westminster Hall debate on the issue. The attendance and mood of the debate will have left the minister, Claire Perry, in no doubt about the strength of feeling about the proposed changes to planning rules for shale gas exploration. I was able to make a small contribution to the debate, raising my clear concerns about the weakening of planning rules. These proposals would bring applications under the National Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) regime, which could contradict the principles of localism and exacerbate existing mistrust between communities and the shale gas industry. The Housing, Communities and Local Government select committee raised similar points in its recent report, which I instigated and contributed to extensively. I think the Government does need to reconsider these potential changes to the process or will face significant opposition in Parliament. I will continue to press the point at every opportunity.
You can read the whole debate here: