Pro-business groups are welcoming a change to the way that shale gas permits are approved in Britain, which sees decision-making in the hands of the communities minister, rather than local politicians who have in the past blocked shale projects. Ivor Bennett reports.
It's a highly charged issue. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as it's known divides opinion. And now, in Britain, the rules of the game are changing. The government has decided to let the communities minister decide on fracking permits, rather than local councils. Reuters Energy Correspondent Karolin Schapps. (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) REUTERS ENERGY CORRESPONDENT, KAROLIN SCHAPS, SAYING: "Anti-fracking groups, especially environmental complainers have have already said they are not pleased with this decision and are particularly concerned that the government is deciding to overrule local government decisions." It comes a month after Lancashire council rejected an application to drill and frack up to four wells, on the grounds of noise and visual impact. But the new rules apply immediately, and mean the government, which is keen to tap into shale gas, can intervene to approve or reject permits. (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) REUTERS ENERGY CORRESPONDENT, KAROLIN SCHAPS, SAYING: "They say it will help Britain's energy security, it will help lessen imports from other places. It will also generate income for local economies." Shale gas developer Cuadrilla Resources, whose application was rejected in June, has already decided to appeal. The change has been welcomed by pro business groups. They say it'll help get shale gas projects up and running in the country, whether protesters like it or not.