Row over lack of national guidance for fracking applications
9:51pm Wednesday 14th May 2014 in News
VALE AM Andrew RT Davies has called the blocking of proposals to introduce national guidance for local authorities on fracking "a wasted opportunity".
Labour AMs voted down an amendment in an Assembly debate calling for "new technical advice for hydraulic fracturing."
Mr Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives, has long called for the Welsh Government to issue clarifying national guidance to councils to ensure consistency on handling applications.
The Vale of Glamorgan, was recently forced to pay legal costs after their decision to reject an application for test drilling in the Vale was reversed on appeal.
Mr Davies said that other authorities could be put in the same position without clarity from the Minister.
He said: “Issuing new technical advice from the Welsh Government would have been welcomed by local authorities who are not currently clear how to handle these applications.
"There has been a lack of consistency throughout Wales and some authorities have faced costly legal challenges, including here in the Vale of Glamorgan.
“New advice would have addressed this issue and led to clear and concise guidance on how to deal with future applications. Frankly this is a wasted opportunity and I am extremely disappointed that Labour are refusing to take responsibility for an issue of clear national interest.
“It is clearly reasonable to look at all available options given the need for long term energy security, but it is not acceptable to leave councils and public funds exposed to such a risk.
“It is exceptionally disappointing that the Vale AM, Jane Hutt, voted with her Labour colleagues to block national guidance on fracking particularly given the experience of her own local council.”