UK shale gas firms face 'make-or-break' week

Reports that the government is expected to announce this week whether it will approve energy company Cuadrilla's plans to frack for shale gas in Lancashire feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Telegraph reports that "Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, is expected to announce on Thursday whether he will overrule local councillors and grant the company permission to frack at two sites between Blackpool and Preston". The paper adds that "in a make-or-break week for UK frackers, councillors in Nottinghamshire will also vote on Wednesday on whether to open up a new exploration front in the East Midlands by approving proposed drilling by IGas".

A letter to the Times (subscription), with signatories including Clive Betts MP, the chairman of the communities and local government select committee, and Tony Burton, the founder of charity Civic Voice, calls on Javid to do more to support communities in delivering "a more beautiful public realm". The letter says: "Communities could for instance be supported to hold local design competitions to gauge their preferences ahead of any large new development".

The Guardian reports that "more than 15,000 homes and businesses were flooded in areas across northern England in last year’s devastating storms", according to a new analysis from the Local Government Association. The paper says that the umbrella body "is calling for future flood defence to be devolved by the government to local areas" and for "mandatory anti-flood requirements for new homes in building regulations".

The Times reports that plans for an exchange "that would allow investors to buy and sell shares in office blocks have received a boost from a leading property fund". The paper says that "Tritax is the second big commercial real estate company to back the new exchange after British Land’s investment in July. International Property Securities Exchange, or IPSX, is due to be launched in the first quarter of next year pending approval from regulatory authorities".

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