Queen To Announce Changes to Trespass Laws

fracking regime

Today the Queen is expected to announce a change in the trespass laws to allow companies to drill underneath our homes without first seeking our permission.  This proposed change in law comes after Greenpeace successfully formed a legal block around a drilling site in Fernhurst forcing Celtique Energie to modify their planning application. [1]

Under normal circumstances, Celtique would have to go through the court system to challenge this.  This could take years to resolve and would be very costly.  It would also encourage other communities to do the same and in effect stall the fledgling fracking industry.  However by proposing the change to the trespass laws, the government is showing that is clearly is siding with the industry on the issue.

The announcement was not very well received.  In a recent poll, 74% of poll respondents are against this law change.[2]  This also comes very soon after support for fracking has dropped below 50%.  [3]

Francis Egan, the CEO of Cuadrilla who owns drilling sites in Lancashire and Balcombe, fully supports the law change.  He also believes that landowners should receive little to no compensation for any drilling activity occurring under their land .  [4] He argues that although landowners technically own all of the airspace above their home, the airline industry is not required to seek permission to enter that airspace or provide compensation.  Therefore fracking companies should not be subjected to a different standard.

The law change is still in the early stages of development.  There are plenty of opportunities for concerned parties to object.  The government has recently opened a public consultation on the proposed law change.  Concerned individuals are asked to file an objection by 15 August 2014.  You can find out more information about the proposed law changes and a list of different ways to respond to by visiting the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s website. [5]

 

Links

[1]http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/11211219.Fracking_firm_scales_back_bid_after_opposition/

[2] http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/06/fracking-trespass-law-changes-opposed-by-74-of-britons

[3] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27480950

[4]http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/10823574/First-British-shale-gas-to-fuel-homes-next-year.html

[5] https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/underground-drilling-access

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