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The government has pressed ahead with its plans to do more fracking in Blackpool, despite widespread protests.

The government has launched two consultations to fast-track fracking bids. People have until October 25 to take part. One proposal is to allow shale gas exploration schemes to go-ahead without the need for a planning application by turning them into a “permitted development.”

The second is to treat full shale gas production projects as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects which would take them out of local authority control and hand decisions to the Secretary of State.

Both schemes have been considered as a way to bypass the consent of local citizens and press ahead with fracking, regardless of the level of opposition.

Daniel Carey-Dawes, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, which has an online petition against the plans, said in an interview with the Blackpool Gazette: “These proposals would be a complete perversion of the planning system and trample over the rights of communities – all to fast-track an industry bringing environmental risks that would massively outweigh any suggested ‘benefit’ to our energy security.”

Barbara Richardson, from Roseacre, said: “This a desperate attempt by the government to forge ahead with their own agenda to frack for shale gas in England and take decisions away from local authorities and local residents. This is an full on assault on local democracy.

“They know fracking is unpopular, with council after council refusing planning permission and for good reason, so they have to try and find a way round it. This is their answer. To change the rules. They will meet significant opposition.”

The only people that have welcomed the developments is the UK Gas Industry Body (UKOOG), who said the proposals will make it easier for them to press ahead with fracking.

If successful, these proposals could result in fracking being introduced to many areas of the UK regardless of the backlash.

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