I am very sceptical indeed about the merits of all the new (and indeed traditional) ways of extracting minerals and gases from the earth,and particularly about opening up new sites.Whilst clearly we do need more energy sources, I strongly feel that we should be focusing on renewables, and particularly wave or tidal power.
The UK has an appalling record of granting planning consent for on-shore mineral extraction, relying on assurances from the applicants, failing to turn these into robust conditions, and then failing to properly enforce the few conditions that are imposed.
I am categorically opposed to any application for new extraction sites in/under residential areas, or in sites of natural or tourism importance and I would wish to see a moratorium on all other applications - including exploration - until there is a proper independent investigation of all the issues. If that is not achievable I would press for the burden of proof to be reversed, so that applicants need to fund independent impact assessments - including noise, traffic, emissions, pollution, health,wildlife - and then demonstrate how they will fully protect the local area from adverse impacts. I would then want any consent to incorporate every condition imaginable and to be short-term and revocable in the case of any material breach - as well as including payment from the applicants to fund a rigorous inspection and enforcement regime.
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