Britain’s fracking revolution set to take off as ministers vow to force local areas to accept new gas projects


BRITAIN'S long-delayed fracking revolution was given a huge boost last night as ministers vowed to turbo-charge the planning process – and set up a new regulator to help firms looking for gas.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said the Government would consider adding fracking to a list of “nationally significant infrastructure projects” in a desperate bid to force go-slow councils to stand up to green campaigners and approve fracking bids.

 A fracking test site in LancashireAlamy A fracking test site in Lancashire

So far just a handful of exploration projects have been given the thumbs up despite David Cameron’s call for a fracking revolution four years ago.

Mr Clark said: “We could be importing 72 per cent of our gas by 2030. It is right to utilise our domestic gas resources to the maximum extent.”

Energy giant Cuadrilla immediately welcomed the announcement – pointing out that its bid to drill four exploratory wells in Lancashire took “three costly years”.

Boss Francis Egan said: “These timelimes must improve if the country is to benefit from its own, much needed, indigenous source of gas.”

 Business Secretary Greg Clark wants to encourage more frackingAFP Business Secretary Greg Clark wants to encourage more fracking

But the move sparked fury from green campaigners and Green Party chief Caroline Lucas.

Greenpeace head of politics Rebecca Newsome said: “After seven years of fracking doing less than nothing to help our economy, the government’s still going all out for shale, and still trampling over democracy to prop up this collapsing industry.”

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