Opponents say revised definition of fracking will allow energy firms to bypass planning rules
'The government is facing a fresh legal challenge to its proposals to fast-track new fracking sites by loosening planning regulations.
Ministers said this summer they would drop the requirement for shale gas wells to obtain planning permission by designating fracking sites as national infrastructure projects.
Greg Clark, the business secretary, used a written ministerial statement to tell local authorities they should abide by a definition of fracking that campaigners say is looser than the current one.
Opponents say the new definition allows some companies to claim that their operations do not meet the technical definition of fracking and therefore do not have to face tougher planning decisions.
On Monday a high court will decide whether to allow a legal challenge, brought by the mayor of a town in north Yorkshire against two government departments, on the grounds they should have undertaken an assessment required by EU law before Clark’s statement.
The case has been brought by Paul Andrews, the mayor of Malton, which is the nearest town to the KM8 well that Third Energy intends to frack.
He said Clark’s comments had completely undermined protections against fracking in North Yorkshire county council’s local minerals plan.'
Read more: Government faces new legal challenge over plans to speed up fracking