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Truss could break fracking election pledge to bypass local opposition

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theguardian.com

Liz Truss is considering designating fracking sites as nationally important infrastructure, potentially cutting out local communities and breaking a leadership election promise, the Guardian can reveal.During her campaign to be the Conservative party leader, Truss said new sites would only go ahead with local consent.

However, those familiar with discussions in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, say there have been discussions about pushing through sites without local approval by designating them as nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs).This means they would bypass normal local planning requirements.

The designations usually apply to infrastructure such as roads, airports and energy sites.In parliament on Thursday, Rees-Mogg refused to commit to letting local communities blacklist fracking projects, instead telling MPs that people nearby would be “compensated”.The Green MP, Caroline Lucas, said on Twitter: “Rees-Mogg squirming as so many of us, including his own backbenchers, challenge him on pledge PM gave that fracking will only happen where there is community consent – and is now endeavouring to pretend that compensation is the same as consent.

It is not.”In 2018, there was widespread opposition when the government consulted on the possibility of making shale gas projects NSIPs.

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