Shock: 3/4 British people want fracking companies to ask before tunnelling underneath their homes.

Posted by Lawrence Carter — 6 May 2014 at 10:26am - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: greenpeace

Last month we found out that the government is cooking up plans to strip homeowners and tenants of their legal right to deny permission to companies that want to frack directly underneath their property. If every English person’s home is their castle, then government ministers are currently digging a tunnel underneath the ramparts to let the frackers in.

With a growing movement of more than forty-five thousand people already refusing access to fracking companies, we didn’t think these plans would prove particularly popular. But had no idea just how toxic they would be for the government until we received the results of an opinion poll we’d commissioned from YouGov last week.

According to the survey, three quarters of British people believe that fracking companies should have to get permission from residents before drilling under their homes or land. This includes almost three quarters of potential Tory (73%) and Lib Dem (70%) voters. In fact, just 13% of respondents said energy firms should not be required to have the owner’s consent.

Ministers must have known how unpopular stripping people of their property rights would be, so it’s a measure of just how worried they (and their friends in the fracking industry) are about our legal block that they’ve decided to go ahead with these plans. Already local people at Fernhurst, West Sussex, have surrounded a proposed drill site near their village, prompting a bitter tirade from fracking boss Geoff Davies.  

Now, having failed to reassure the country that fracking is safe, ministers want to render people powerless to oppose it. But it’s going to be a hard slog for them as these toxic proposals make their way through parliament. Today, we sent a letter to the Prime Minister, together with the Home Owners Alliance, RSPB, Wildlife Trusts, Friends of the Earth, Angling Trust and the Salmon and Trout Association, urging him to ditch moves to weaken people’s property rights.

In the letter we argue that “the right of people to determine whether to give permission to oil and gas companies seeking to drill underneath their property is appropriate and should be retained, given the associated major risks”. The Financial Times published an article this morning highlighting the unpopularity of the government’s plans and the resulting backlash from civil society.

The Queen is due to introduce this legislation to Parliament on June 4th, let’s see if Coalition ministers are daft enough to go ahead with it. To join the movement to challenge these plans and block permission to fracking companies drilling under your home, sign up here:

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