The Guardian reports that campaigners have criticised the announcement that exploration for shale gas will not require planning permission and that fracking proposals will be classed as nationally significant infrastructure for planning purposes. Greenpeace says the government had turned a deaf ear to communities and councils, and would make "exploratory drilling as easy as building a garden wall or conservatory", the paper reports. The Local Government Association welcomed the extra funding to deal with shale gas planning applications, but opposed allowing such applications to bypass local planning authorities, the paper says.
National Grid is moving ahead with plans for a fleet of superfast charging points for electric vehicles along Britain’s motorways, the FT (subscription required) reports. The company’s chief executive John Pettigrew says the charging points would feed directly off the electricity transmission network, the paper reports. Under the company’s proposal, a series of 350kW ‘super chargers’ would be installed at 50 strategic sites along the motorway network, to enable drivers to charge their cars in six to eight minutes, according to the report.
The Daily Telegraph (subscription required) reports on a new model of mini "smart offices" which have emerged in Tokyo subway stations. The booths, which measure only 1.6m by 1m and are just under 2m high, are equipped with a desk, chair and LCD screen with free wifi and power outlets. The units, designed by Japanese technology company Fuji Xerox, are available for reservations in units of 15 minutes for busy commuters on the move, the paper reports.