Joe Corré and his campaign group Talk Fracking have been at the forefront of many battles with the fracking industry in the UK. Last year, he challenged the government in the High Court over a sneakily released new Planning Policy (published on the last day before parliament’s summer break). The National Planning Policy Framework contained a clause which told local authorities to facilitate policies ‘to facilitate onshore oil and gas extraction’ as a matter of course, on the basis of a Written Ministerial Statement which recognised the industry as a ‘transition to a low-carbon economy’.

Talk Fracking, represented by Leigh Day, argued that the ministerial statement was based on government commissioned reports (Mackay and Stone) which are out of date and initially flawed. Ministers acted unlawfully, says Mr Corré, by not consulting properly and not reviewing evidence commissioned by Talk Fracking as well as recent up to date science on the fracking process, its costs, emissions and carbon footprint.

The case was heard just before Christmas, and on March 6th, Mr. Justice Dove handed down his ruling in which he stated “the consultation on the draft framework was so flawed in its design and processes as to be unlawful”. He said the Secretary of State had not considered “obviously material considerations relevant to the decision which he had led the public to believe he was taking”.

Talk Fracking spokesperson Claire Stephenson said “The acknowledgement from the Judge that climate change is a valid concern for campaigners and councils facing fracking planning applications, is a big win”.