WIGAN MP Lisa Nandy has joined environmental groups in accusing the Government of “sneaking in” regulations that could lead to fracking in protected areas.
Campaigners say the new regulations are a U-turn on a coalition decision to accept Labour moves to tighten fracking regulations, and will allow drilling under national parks, while other important areas have no protections against exploration for shale gas.
Ms Nandy, the shadow energy secretary said: “This Government needs to listen to people’s worries and not railroad through changes to the legislation which may well have damaging and long lasting effects on our natural environment.”
And Greenpeace accused the Government of playing “fast and loose with democracy” as the rules are being debated by a cross-party committee of just 18 MPs, and will be put to a vote in the Commons without a debate.
Several energy firms hold licences granting them exclusive rights to frack in areas of Wigan borough if they receive planning permission from the council.
A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “This is not new - we laid these regulations and publicised them in July.
“The UK has one of the best track records in the world for protecting our environment while developing our industries - these regulations will get this vital industry moving while protecting our environment and people.”
Greenpeace head of energy Daisy Sands said: “Not only are they breaking their promise that national parks would not be scarred by fracking, but they are trying to sneak these regulations through the back door of parliament without any consent from the public and without any proper scrutiny from MPs.”