Oxfordshire CC Jan 20 Head of Legal 600

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Town council distances itself from challenge brought by mayor over fracking

A town council has distanced itself from its mayor’s attempt to take the government to judicial review over fracking.

The case has arisen in Malton, North Yorkshire, where town mayor Paul Andrews has so far raised £10,142 through a crowd funding page.

He wants to challenge Business Secretary Greg Clark over his policy statement on fracking, which Mr Andrews said: “Seeks to impose an unacceptable level of government control on local planning applications and will significantly reduce the ability of democratically elected local councils to establish their own parameters for fracking in their area.”

A council statement said: “Malton Town Council wishes to clarify its position concerning the mayor’s personal legal challenge against planned Government changes as to how fracking applications are handled.

“The legal action being undertaken by Councillor Paul Andrews is in his own name as a private individual and is not in the name of Malton Town Council or in Councillor Andrews’ capacity as mayor. There are no financial implications whatsoever for Malton Town Council.”

Third Energy was given Government permission to test for fracking at Kirby Misperton near Malton, though work is yet to start.

Meanwhile, campaign group Talk Fracking, led by designer Dame Vivienne Westwood and her son Joe Corré, has issued a pre-action legal letter to Communities Secretary James Brokenshire challenging the legality of the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) published on 24 July.

This was the same day that Mr Clark gave permission to Cuadrilla to start fracking at Preston New Road, Lancashire based on the revised NPPF, law firm Leigh Day said.

The pre-action letter said Mr Brokenshire had failed to carry out a strategic environmental assessment of fracking planning policy, failed to consult fairly and failed to demonstrate the NPPF paragraph was compatible with the UK’s climate change obligations.

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