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Anti-fracking activist vows to 'reclaim democracy' at court hearing

ANTI-FRACKING campaigner Heather Stroud intends to “reclaim democracy” when she appears in court in Yorkshire this week for chaining herself to the gates of a gas drilling site.

Ms Stroud appears before York magistrates on Thursday after she was arrested for obstructing the entrance to a drilling site at Kirby Misperton, a village near Pickering in rural North Yorkshire, on January 30.

The government has since announced its intention to change planning regulations, reducing the right of local councils to refuse planning permission for operations such as fracking.

Ms Stroud, who is a writer and human rights activist, said the proposals were an attack on local democracy.

“Fracking is just a symptom of a bigger, far more insidious problem where our government, in servitude to corporate lobbyists, has placed the rights of corporations above that of humans and of the natural world,” she charged.

She said the new government proposal “raises issues of the state’s disregard for democracy and human rights by taking the licensing decision-making process out of the hands of local people and local councils.”

The government has already used its powers to overrule local councils in Lancashire, including the county council, which refused planning permission for the controversial drilling process to be carried out at a site at Preston New Road, near Fylde.

Fracking involves the pumping of chemicals, water and sand into shale layers deep beneath the earth’s surface to shatter them, releasing highly profitable gas reserves.

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