Hull councillors approve anti-fracking policy

HullCityCouncilHull City Council came a step closer to adopting a policy against fracking this morning.

The authority’s Energy and Infrastructure Overview and Scrutiny Commission approved a policy on unconventional oil and gas exploration. Under the policy, the council:

“Will not encourage applications by holders of the appropriate Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence to gain access to land owned by the council for the purposes of exploring, developing or extracting for unconventional oil and gas using fracking or mini-fracking technology.”

“Will take such action as necessary to protect the community’s interests where impacts of proposed unconventional oil and gas development pose a threat to Hull’s water resources, adversely affect traffic movements or require the movement of hazardous waste through the city.”

The commission agreed that Hull City Council would work with appropriate agencies, such as the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water, to ensure that if test drilling assessment or commercial operation were undertaken all health and safety, operational permit requirements and planning conditions were complied with.

The commission also agreed that the policy would not be a consideration when the council exercised its functions as the Local Planning Authority.

The policy now goes to the planning committee meeting on 17th November and for final approval before the cabinet on 23rd November. Details of the policy

Hull and the surrounding area is covered by an existing PEDL 183 held by Rathlin Energy.

Link to update on the latest applications by Rathlin Energy, IGas, UK Methane and Third Energy.

Other recent council policies on fracking

Gloucestershire County Council considered a motion on 23rd October which noted that “fracking adds to climate change” and “poses risks to the local environment”. It resolved to ask the Energy Secretary “to remove the licensing areas within Gloucestershire with immediate effect”. A full meeting of the council voted by 12 votes to nine to approve an amendment to send the motion to the Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee.

Forest of Dean District Council voted on 22nd October to register formally its concerns about the local use of unconventional gas exploration and extraction with the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). It also voted to inform the DECC that the Council “would not currently be in a position to support this form of development”. It resolved to establish a working party on the issue and to review the impact on the area in the government’s strategic environmental assessment. Details

Torfaen County Borough Council voted on 20th October to support a frack free declaration for the area and called on the UK government to declare a moratorium. A motion noted the council’s responsibility to tackle climate changes and that exploration of unconventional fossil fuel undermined this action. It also resolved to write to the Welsh Government to support its stance of a fracking moratorium in Wales. Details

Ryedale District Council voted on 8th October in favour of a five year moratorium on fracking in the area. The Conservative-led council voted by 13-7 in favour of a motion which said the policy should be reconsidered when “sufficient evidence” became available. It also called on the planning committee to “take this decision into account” when making its recommendation to North Yorkshire County Council on Third Energy’s application to frack the KM8 well at Kirby Misperton. Ryedale deferred making a recommendation on the application last night. See DrillOrDrop’s report.

West Dean Parish Council in the Forest of Dean passed an anti-fracking motion on 16th September. This said: “The council opposes the exploration for and the extraction of hydrocarbons and the underground storage of hazardous substances as affecting the West Dean Council and adjoining Forest area. Details

Today, the council sent an open letter to the party leaders on Gloucestershire County Council asking for support for their stance. The letter continued:

“The Forest of Dean is notable for its subterranean features – its caves, mines and watercourses. We were therefore very concerned that the recent Habitats Regulations Assessment for the 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing round did not address the impacts of licensable activities on features below ground level. We were disappointed that Gloucestershire County Council did not provide a response to the Habitats Assessment Consultation, and we seek assurance that GCC will take into consideration the particular vulnerabilities of our area to seismic disturbance, water contamination and ecological damage.”

“We understand the hurdles that must be cleared before exploration and extraction can take place. However, we are unhappy that any further steps should be taken towards unconventional onshore oil and gas extraction: our geology is too unstable; our environment is too precious; the risks are too high. Academic research substantiates our concerns. The precautionary principle must apply, and a moratorium declared on fracking, in our area and elsewhere.”

“As the local minerals authority, Gloucestershire County Council could help reinforce this position. We hope you will support the democratic views of residents of the Forest of Dean District, by representing to the Westminster government that you do not consider Blocks SO50, SO51, SO60(a) and (b) and SO61 suitable for inclusion in the current or any future onshore licensing round. It is timely to act now, and we urge your rapid action to dissuade the government from taking any further steps towards licensing activities that pose a risk to public safety.”

Full letter

Cinderford Town Council approved a statement on 12th November that council would be totally against hydraulic fracturing for unconventional hydrocarbons. It continued: “Cinderford Town Council fully believes that the Forest of Dean does not lend itself in any way to this type of unconventional hydrocarbon exploration.”

Link to list of frack-free motions and statements about fracking by UK local authorities and devolved governments. Please let us know if there are missing or incorrect details on this list.

Updated: 19/11/15 to include addition of Cinderford Town Council statement

4 replies »

  1. I’m hoping these councils eventually get a coalition to sue the government for stealing their land rights, democratic authority and for pouring scorn on localism while simultaneously trying to promote centralisation of commercial rule over natural resources.

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