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We are very concerned about fracking company Ineos’ recent attempts to remove local decision-making powers from councils in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. Ineos, who applied earlier this year to drill exploratory wells near Eckington in NE Derbyshire and Harthill in Rotherham, have now asked the government to intervene on the grounds that the local councils have taken too long to decide.

These are complex cases where both councils must fully evaluate the likely impacts. To do this takes both time and care and the councils have had to ask Ineos to provide further environmental information. We think it both unfair and unreasonable for Ineos to now bypass that process. This disregard for local democracy is unacceptable.

Both drilling applications and the new appeals have ignited fury in local communities and with local politicians such as Sir Kevin Barron, MP for Rother Valley and Derbyshire County Council Leader Councillor Barry Lewis. For the past year, CPRE South Yorkshire and Friends of the Earth’s regional staff have been supporting affected communities with planning and advocacy advice.

CPRE South Yorkshire is fully committed to helping local communities fight fracking and will work to ensure strong arguments are put to the forthcoming planning inquiries so that Ineos’ bully-boy tactics don’t succeed.