Politics

MP to call for fracking ban in Rother Valley

Alexander Stafford, MP for Rother Valley, 21 January 2020. Photo: Still from Parliament TV

The MP for an area with two potential shale gas sites is expected to call in parliament for a permanent ban on fracking in his constituency.

Alexander Stafford, who represents Rother Valley in south Yorkshire, has secured an adjournment debate on Monday 28 September 2020.

The constituency has a site near the village of Harthill, where Ineos has planning permission to drill and test for shale gas.

A decision is awaited from the local government secretary on a similar application by the same company in the nearby village of Woodsetts.

Neither site has permission for fracking, which is currently the subject of a moratorium in England.

Access track to proposed Ineos shale gas site at Woodsetts. Photo: Woodsetts Against Fracking

Mr Stafford said:

“I am incredibly pleased to have secured this important parliamentary debate and deliver on my election pledge to do so.

“On Monday 28th I hope to put forward our case that fracking should not be taking place in our beautiful Rother Valley community, and that we must protect the ancient villages of Woodsetts and Harthill.”  

Ineos shale gas site at Common Road, Harthill, 2 May 2019. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Mr Stafford, first elected in Deember 2019, said he would be working before the debate with local campaign organisations, Harthill Against Fracking and Woodsetts Against Fracking . He also welcomed contributions from all constituents.

Adjournment debates last half an hour at the end of each day’s sitting. They are an opportunity for a backbench MP to raise an issue and get a response from a minister.

In his first public comment in the House of Commons in January 2020, Mr Stafford urged the government to make the moratorium permanent. Also that month, he asked nine parliamentary questions on fracking.

18 replies »

  1. Quite right, fracking does need to be banned full stop. But the government needs to achieve a ban via energy and planning policy because the likes of Mr Ratcliffe wouldn’t hesitate to take legal action, as he did in Scotland. And an outright ban would be too big a climb down politically for the government. But there is always more than one way to achieve an objective.

  2. And, of course SIR Jim could then just decide to make investments elsewhere, and not the UK KatT!

    Just add jobs in Wales to kids lives in the DRC to your collateral damage list.

    As long as your objective is met, doesn’t seem to matter how many lives and livelihoods are ruined. No wonder you antis are so keen to mask your “objectives” with false claims of morality. Vlad the Impaler was quite keen on forestry management.

    • Martin, Sir Jim is already investing elsewhere. Despite being a keen Brexiteer he is looking to build his new plant in Belgium and, if I’m not mistaken, is building his Grenadier in Europe as well. And of course he moved to Monaco to reduce the amount of tax he pays in the U.K. just after being knighted. And wanted a tax avoidance scheme so sharp that it embarrassed PWC.
      And please spare us all lectures on exploitation, the fossil fuel industry has a long history of that.
      I’m not hiding my objectives, I’m perfectly clear that I support a complete ban on fracking.

  3. KatT, Ineos have just invested £5 billion by purchasing over 180 chemical sites in 26 countries, during 2019 they also announced £1 billion worth of investment in the UK, which included plans for a new chemical plant at Hull. It’s what multinational companies do.

    I believe Sir Jim has a number of homes in several countries, including one in Chelsea and has plans to build a £6 million carbon neutral home to replace his existing property in Hampshire. Which seems to go against the claims of him moving full time to Monaco to avoid taxation.

  4. Yes, Sir Jim is investing elsewhere. He can INCREASE that investment and decrease his UK investment. Maybe elsewhere, where he makes a PROFIT, unlike the UK? If his ability to make a profit in UK is reduced going forward that may be accelerated. It really is not rocket science, and most who have any concept of international business would recognize that.

    I actually have experience working for a company who set up European headquarters including manufacturing close to Antwerp. I enquired one day why there. Simply the incentives offered, and whether that continued would decide whether the site continued. So, plenty of alternatives on offer to International companies and little to do with an owners politics or nationality.

    So, Sir Jim no longer lives in UK, and other countries? Oh yes he does.

    As he stated:

    “I do not live in Monaco. If the argument is that you’ve made a lot of money and you’ve got to pay tax on it then I would have to move to America, or Germany or Belgium where I’ve made a lot of money-but I’ve never made any money in the UK”.

    He has clearly stated that Ineos will not be the dumb money. You may think they should be.

    Ahh, exploitation is okay as long as others have done it? How does that fit with Black Lives Matter? Not such high morals as some would claim. Trashing a German forest ahead of permission is also uncomfortable especially if perceived fossil fuel site planning infringements are weaponized whilst the “alternatives” are praised.

    No, I will not spare you. If some hypocritically claim the moral high ground and then are shown to not be justified in doing so, then it will be called. Sorry, but such is life.

  5. The UK shale gas ‘industry’ never materialised. Pummelled by well organised communities. I wonder how many millions have been lost by short sighted small time investors? No doubt many would say they lost money on some onshore investments but overall they have made money. They would say that. Better than saying they have been had by the big players who know exactly how to extract money from the small fry. Such is life.

  6. John, you can split hairs but the truth is just that, the truth. Mr Ratcliffe may have several homes around the world but for tax purposes he is registered as living in Monaco to avoid paying tax in the U.K. Some quote saving £4billion, that is money that would go into the NHS, education and other public services. He also relocated INEOS to Switzerland to avoid paying a significant VAT bill too. As for his home in Hampshire, the one he has succeeded in upsetting all his neighbours? The idea of Mr Ratcliffe building a carbon neutral house, might just see that as hypocrisy, whilst he continues to extract fossil fuels.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/jim-ratcliffe-monaco-tax-avoidance-billionaire-ineos-john-mcdonnell-a8783626.html

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6715343/MPs-lead-fury-UKs-richest-man-Sir-Jim-Ratcliffe-heads-Monaco-avoid-4bn-tax.html

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2010/apr/11/ineos-headquarters-switzerland-tax-bill

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7279229/Sir-Jim-Ratcliffe-sparks-new-row-neighbours-plans-cottage-New-Forest.html

    • KatT, where and in which country have Ineos based their headquarters since 2016?

      The links you have posted are inaccurate and out of date.

      • John, the issue that Mr Ratcliffe moved to Monaco to avoid paying tax, irrespective of whether he owns houses elsewhere, which the links prove I’m correct. The point about moving INEOS to Switzerland was yet another example of his lack of scruples and willingness to deprive the British public of income. My links are up to date and accurate because they prove my points. Moving INEOS back to the U.K. doesn’t alter the facts I stated, not only had the British public services been denied billions of income because of his actions but after Mr Ratcliffe was knighted and the company had received financial assistance from the tax payer as well.

  7. Based on this report I’ve requested that my Member of Parliament, Mark Menzies of the Fylde, requests a similar ban based on the swarms of Hydrofrac Earthquakes that Cuadrilla caused hereabouts in 2011, 2018 and 2019.
    I’ve also requested that Mr Menzies asks the other Members of Parliament holding office within PEDL 165 to submit similar requests based on the local geology which has again been proved to be totally unsuitable for the fracking process to continue.

      • I don’t understand the basis of your comment Martin.

        Are you being sarcastic, misinformed or just provocative?

        Whichever it is it doesn’t contribute to the discussion.

        Factually however the fracking industry has proven itself mendacious; divisive and dangerous to host whether enforced by bribery, untrue propaganda or political bullying from London.

        Keep it out of your Community at all costs.

  8. I suggest you stop digging the hole deeper and do some more research, KatT.

    His relocation to Switzerland was not as you stated. He wished to delay a tax bill (for valid reasons) and negotiated to do so. Stupid Gordon would not agree so HE cost the UK Treasury. (He was good at that! He had created the reason why the tax bill needed delaying!) Mind you, Gordon was in a corner as he had to reflect the Unite public enemy No.1 situation and ignore the cost of that to the UK taxpayer.

    When you start to contribute a very small fraction of what Sir Jim contributes to UK, including the money he has put into rehabilitation of wounded servicemen, including the tax he pays in UK, you may be taken seriously. (He does NOT avoid paying tax in UK. He may control how much. So do I, via ISAs.) There are quite a number of wealthy individuals who will control the amount of tax they pay quite legitimately and then contribute huge amounts to areas they do not need to but wish to do because they are in a position to do so. Most will do that as they feel they can focus upon the areas that need their focus, better than Government. The Weston family are one such example, but there are many more.

    You can wriggle away, but the real truth is as follows:

    “We have a canvas which includes all corners of the globe and the North of England is on that canvas but we are rational people and we have not got to where we are today by being the dumb money”.

    So, thanks to FRACKING, Sir Jim can invest in USA where energy costs are half to a third of those in the UK, together with the other $200BILLION invested in NEW chemical plants due to that reason. That is a lot of high paid jobs and a lot of tax AND a huge help to the environment as such modern plants are far improved in that respect.

    He may still spend $BILLIONS transporting that cheaper energy to other parts of the world, (and building the ships in parts of the world much cheaper than he could do in UK-shock/horror) where energy prices are much higher, or he may decide to concentrate in those areas close to cheaper energy. Looking at recent investment in USA and Saudi, he seems to be doing the latter quite a bit.

    If he does, than those who helped create that scenario, or support it, have some responsibility. Blaming and demonizing others for making rational decisions is just an attempt at smoke and mirrors.

    So, some locals (including MPs) may try to exclude from their UK areas, others in Wales may do the reverse. If people are so keen to have more support for the NHS, education and other public services then more business is the answer, otherwise they can take the responsibility and make extra payments themselves. Crowd funding hardly likely to make any real impression there!

    Looking at your “references”, you do only seem interested in the “alternative” truth, so perhaps my real truth may assist others.

  9. Sorry Martin, your interpretation doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Other companies had to pay their VAT bills, why should INEOS be treated differently? I’ve looked at this in detail but you are of course entitled to your opinion, despite the facts. INEOS has had assistance from the tax payer but moved to avoid paying tax in the U.K.

    I’m afraid I don’t admire billionaires many times over that avoid paying tax in the U.K. but take UK public money to assist their company. Nor do I admire individuals that try and threaten job cuts to avoid meeting legal air pollution limits, air pollution severely damages health.

    And I certainly do not support companies that continue to extract new reserves of fossil fuels and fracking.

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2010/mar/04/ineos-tax-breaks-plans-move

    https://www.scotsman.com/business/ineos-says-vat-row-behind-swiss-hq-move-1723109

    http://www.primeeconomics.org/articles/2252

    https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/03/23/ineos-chemicals-environment-pollution-eu-lobbying/

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