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Rudd set to fast-track fracking schemes

Words: Huw Morris
Amber Rudd

The government is set to unveil moves to fast-track fracking applications through the planning system.

The move follows Lancashire County Councils's rejection of an application by Cuadrilla to drill wells on the Fylde coast more than a year after it was first submitted. Cuadrilla has since appealed.

Energy secretary Amber Rudd said shale gas extraction could generate 60,000 jobs and billions of pounds for the economy. She added that the UK needs "more secure, home-grown energy supplies and shale gas must play a part", arguing that the country is on course to import 75 per cent of its oil and gas resources by 2030.

"We can't continue with a system in which applications are dragged out for months or even years on end, a system that doesn't give certainty to industry and that could spell the end of a potentially vital national industry," Rudd told The Sunday Times. "We need a system that delivers timeless planning decisions and that works effectively for local people and developers."

Rudd argued that shale gas operators will pay communities £100,000 for each exploration site plus 1 per cent of production revenue.

The government is expected to write to local authorities this week, telling them there is an "urgent need" to develop shale gas and oil resources to meet the government's objectives of secure energy supplies, economic growth and lower carbon emissions.