Councillors in Sheffield have voted to ban fracking on land by owned by the city. They also criticised the government’s shale gas policy and backed Labour’s call for a moratorium.
Opponents of fracking in Sheffield described the news as “momentous”, “fantastic” and awesome”.
The resolutions, approved at a meeting of the city council last week, were part of group of measures opposing shale gas and fossil fuels.
The Labour-led council agreed:
“That this council commits to not permitting fracking on council-owned land and to reject approaches to do so”.
It also passed a motion which:
“Regrets that the government now appear to be determined to force fracking on areas, regardless of local opinion”.
An exploration licence block covering most of Sheffield was awarded to INEOS Upstream earlier this year. The company also holds blocks on the northern, eastern and southern edges of the city. IGas was awarded a block north east of Sheffield covering Rotherham and the Don Valley.
Another motion passed by the city council noted that the government had granted exploratory shale gas licences in Sheffield.
Under two other resolutions the council voted to:
- Note that many local people opposed the prospect of fracking
- Support the Labour Party’s position calling for a ban on fracking
In 2011, Labour took control of Sheffield City Council following a period with a Lib Dem leader. Another four resolutions approved last week reflected this change in city politics. Under these votes, councillors agreed that they:
- Believed actions of the Conservative/Lib Dem Coalition Government (2010-2015) had “paved the way for fracking in Sheffield”
- Noted that the UK moratorium on fracking was lifted by the Liberal Democrat, Ed Davey, the then Energy and Climate Change Secretary
- Regretted that the 2015 Lib Dem manifesto would have allowed fracking
- Regretted comments by the Sheffield Hallam MP, Nick Clegg, in 2013 that “fracking has a role”
The meeting also agreed a set of resolutions on divestment from fossil fuels. A motion, put forward by Green Party leader, Rob Murphy, included:
- Declaring the council’s aspiration to play a leadership role in becoming a fossil fuel free city
- Confirming that the council did not and would not invest in fossil fuels
- Including this commitment in a statement on ethical and environmental investment in the council’s treasury management strategy for 2017/2018
- Condemning the government’s approach to penalising councils which diverged in procurement practices from its ministerial policies