Given its hitherto gung-ho attitude to fracking, it was perhaps no surprise when energy minister Michael Fallon confirmed yesterday that the government is guilty of double standards when it comes to shale gas and renewables.
Speaking to the Environmental Audit Committee, the minister explained how he’s playing favourites with fracking when it comes to planning, and the need for companies to consult with affected communities before they submit planning applications.
“It’s not the same regime,” Fallon admitted. “We’re not formally requiring the [shale] developers to pre-consult. They’ve already agreed to do that, and they’d be pretty silly not to do it, but we haven’t yet put that into formal guidance.”
Compare with the regime being introduced for onshore wind – “legislation will be introduced to make it compulsory for developers to consult local communities before submitted planning applications for onshore wind applications”.
The playing field seems particularly skew when you consider two-thirds of people would rather have a wind turbine than a shale gas well near their home.