MPs to debate plans to fast track controversial Fracking sites

Fracking site at Preston New Road near Blackpool Credit: ITV Granada

MPs have called a debate in Westminster over concerns to fast track fracking sites and bypass local democracy.

The Conservative Government wants to make shale gas drilling 'a permitted development', which would mean firms would not need to get planning permission to set up a drill site like the one at Preston New Road near Blackpool.

The move is controversial and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England has a petition of 300,000 signatures against it.

It comes after exploration was temporarily suspended at Caudrilla's site Lancashire because of earth tremors. Drilling on the site has now resumed.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies called the debate over concerns that communities need to have a say.

He said: “I called the debate in Parliament because I am opposed to the move to give hydraulic fracturing permitted development rights.

“To do so would stop local communities raising extremely important issues, including traffic management, which will vary vastly from site to site and cannot be dealt with one piece of coverall legislation.

“It is vital these issues are heard at each and every application and it is very important the Government is aware of the strength of feeling in Parliament on the matter.”

Other Tory MPs have warned it could turn communities against the party.