Fracking has been written about on this blog before when looking at the role and type of pressure groups in the UK – big companies like Cuadrilla facing off against envorinment groups trying to prevent fracking. The involvement of celebrities such as Vivenne Westwood made the protests particularly high profile and very useful to students looking at the changing nature of pressure groups.
Today, however, the central government in the form of Communities Secretary Sajid Javid have overruled Lancashire County Council’s ban on fracking to give Cuadrilla the go ahead. This is obviously still useful for the pressure groups topic – insider/outsider groups, the importance and process of lobbying and the importance (or not) of opposition groups. However, it raises a further interesting point for those studying the Constitution and the location of power within the UK.
The decision taken locally by Lancashire County Council, has been overruled by the Government (and a reminder here that Government and Parliament are in fact different things). This is interesting in terms of the location of power – both in the sense of London overuling the local areas, but also when debating the idea of sovereignty of government or Parliament. Parliament did ‘approve’ fracking by passing the Infrastructure Act 2015, but this decision today was taken by the government – so it appears central control/power beats the regional councils. All of this is in stark contrast to Osbourne’s pledge for more devolution within England!