OTLEY councillors have agreed to oppose plans designed to help fracking projects progress.

The Government is consulting over proposals that would allow shale gas explorers to drill test sites in England without applying for planning permission.

Fracking sites could also be classed as nationally significant infrastructure, meaning approval for developments would be given at national, not local, level.

Otley Town Council voiced its unanimous opposition to the plans when its Policy and Resources Committee met this week.

Councillor Mick Bradley (Green, Danefield) thanked the controlling Liberal Democrat group for bringing forward the debate and resolution.

Chair Councillor Ray Georgeson (Lib Dem, Danefield) said: “It is important to note there are no plans to explore for shale gas through fracking for the Wharfe Valley and Otley at present - but the Government proposals ride roughshod over the local planning process and will make it easier for developers to extend their reach of exploration when it next suits.”