Marc Willers QC has been instructed to represent Paul Andrews, the Mayor of Malton in North Yorkshire, to challenge the Government’s decision to issue a written ministerial statement (WMS) on 17 May 2018 on the way in which local authorities should determine planning applications for fracking operations.
The WMS requires local authorities to ‘recognise’ the statutory definition of fracking set out in the Infrastructure Act 2015. Applying that definition which relates to the volume of fluid used in the process, rather than the nature of the process itself, could lead to fracking operations (which use slightly less fluid than the statutory threshold) being granted planning permission in areas of outstanding natural beauty and national parks, such as the North York Moors.
Mr Andrews will contend that such a fundamental change in planning policy ought to have been the subject of a Strategic Environmental Assessment and that the failure to conduct one renders the WMS unlawful.
Paul Andrews has launched a crowdfunding campaign for the Judicial Review.