British Government Plans To Foil Anti-Frackers

hunt for shaleCommunities could lose the right to block fracking wells as part of a UK Cabinet plan to create a shale gas industry within a decade, the Telegraph can reveal. The 10-page plan, leaked to anti-fracking campaigners, sets out a timeline for the expansion of the shale gas industry in Britain. Three Cabinet ministers put their names to the scheme which would see fracking wells classified as ‘nationally significant infrastructure’. Instead unelected planning inspectors would be given the power to decide if shale gas drilling sites got the go-ahead, paving the way for a huge uptake in fracking. The move would also speed up the planning process. –Christopher Hope, The Sunday Telegraph, 31 January 2016

The Global Warming Policy Forum welcomes the proposal by Cabinet ministers Amber Rudd, Greg Clark and Liz Tuss to classify fracking wells as ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP)’ which is clearly in the national interest. The GWPF, who advocated exactly this policy last May, is calling upon the Government to turn the ministers’ proposal into law in order to speed up shale gas exploration in the UK. “Shale exploration is clearly in the national interest and the proposal by the Cabinet ministers would certainly enhance Britain’s energy future and security,” said GWPF director Benny Peiser. —Global Warming Policy Forum, 1 February 2016

Despite strong UK Government support for shale, planning setback after planning setback mean Egan is yet to oversee the drilling of a single well, let alone any fracking – the controversial technique used to extract the gas. So will 2016 finally be the year Britain gets fracking? “I’m very confident we have got a strong case,” Egan says. This is, he notes, no guarantee of a positive outcome: Lancashire councillors turned one of the applications down despite legal advice from their own QC that it would be unreasonable to do so. –Emily Gosden, and Jillian Ambrose, The Sunday Telegraph, 31 January 2016

The UK, US and Saudi Arabia are the three countries least concerned among the group surveyed by YouGov. Only 10.8% of Britons ranked climate change as their most important issue. Relative to other countries, Britain cares more about terrorism, population growth, armed conflicts, economic instability and energy scarcity. –Harry Lambert, The Independent, 29 January 2016

The Global Warming Policy Forum is pleased to announce that Dr John Constable will be overseeing the Energy Comment section of our website, and acting as an advisor on our energy policy related initiatives. —Global Warming Policy Forum, 1 February 2016

As critics have long pointed out, the fact that the wind and the sun is free is little short of meaningless. – So is the fossil fuel in the ground. The costs for both are all in the extraction, conversion and delivery to consumers, with delivery, the system operation costs, being so high for renewables that any reductions in capital cost are dwarfed. The fact that these system costs are being imposed through instruments that are non-market, or only weakly competitive, not only adds insult to injury in the short term but promises a future in which the consumer is simply the victim of administrative pricing. –John Constable, Global Warming Policy Forum, 1 February 2016

The head of Hitachi has warned that the debacle surrounding the construction of Hinkley Point nuclear plant throws up “very serious concerns” about its own investment in the UK. Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman and chief executive of the Japanese industrial giant, said the setbacks experienced by Hinkley’s developer EDF raised questions about how future plants including its Wylfa Newydd project are funded. Hitachi’s subsidiary Horizon is planning to build a nuclear plant on Anglesey that is expected to start generating power by the mid-2020s. Asked if the firm might step back if it believed a viable deal was not on the table, Mr Nakanishi replied: “Yes”. –Szu Ping Chan, The Sunday Telegraph, 31 January 2016

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