Changes to Trespass Laws Allow Fracking Beneath Homes
The government looks set to continue with controversial changes to the trespass laws that will allow fracking to take place under homes without the owners’ permission. A recent consultation resulted in 40,647 responses, 99% of which were against the proposal.
Under the new plans, companies would be able to access oil and gas reserves that are more than 300 metres below the surface to bring fracking in line with existing access to other essential services such as water, sewage and coal. Local communities would be offered a maximum of £20,000 for each horizontal well that is drilled. Wells are typically six to nine inches in diameter stretching to up to a mile below the surface. Despite the negative responses from the consultation, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have stated that they did not identify any issues that would persuade them to change their original proposals.
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas is critical of the government’s stance. She told the Guardian: “This sham consultation exposes the government’s disregard for the growing public concern about the major environmental and health risks of fracking. The decision to deny people the right to say no to fracking under their own homes is outrageous. It shows that ministers are putting the greed of oil and gas companies above the public interest in tackling climate change.”
Once the new law is in place, fracking companies will still be required to obtain planning permission and the relevant environmental permits.