Environmentalists call for government to axe 'fast-track' fracking plans

An open letter calling on the government to axe its proposed fast-track route to allow shale gas exploration without full planning consent features in today's newspaper round-up.

In May, the government announced proposals for shale gas exploration to be treated as permitted development. A letter to The Telegraph (subscription) today, signed by a total of 20 environmental charities and campaigning groups, calls for the government to drop the plan. It says that the plan to "fast-track fracking" would "remove decision making powers from local councils". The letter says: "There has been widespread public opposition to fracking – everywhere it has been proposed it has been vehemently opposed. Now we, the voice of the environmental sector, are calling on the government to drop its proposals that risk opening the door to fracking on an industrial scale, and threaten the health and tranquillity of our green and pleasant land."

The Guardian reports that "the world’s leading climate scientists have warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people". The paper says that the "authors of the landmark report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released on Monday say urgent and unprecedented changes are needed to reach the target".

The Times (subscription) reports that "even the cheapest homes are out of the reach of 40 per cent of young adults living in England in a fresh sign of the country’s housing crisis". The paper says that the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) "said that barriers to home ownership were now so high that even with a 10 per cent deposit only 60 per cent of people aged 25 to 34 could borrow enough money to buy the cheapest home in their area".

The Financial Times (subscription) reports that "four of England’s directly elected metro mayors are lobbying the government to devolve spending authority over the proposed capital that will replace their current European funding after Brexit". The paper says that "Labour’s Andy Burnham of Greater Manchester, Steve Rotheram of Liverpool city region, Dan Jarvis of Sheffield city region and Ben Houchen, the Conservative elected mayor of Tees Valley, have joined forces to demand control over the replacement funding".

The FT also reports that "UK landlords are struggling to offload billions of pounds’ worth of shopping centres and retail parks, as the crisis in bricks-and-mortar retail ripples into the property sector". The paper says that "at least £2.5bn of retail properties are currently being marketed, according to FT data based on information from agents, while some property companies privately place the total available to buy as high as £5bn."

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