“We don’t want fracking” – East Yorkshire tells government

Conservative-controlled East Yorkshire council has voted overwhelmingly against fracking locally in one of the first formal reactions to the government’s lifting of the moratorium in England.

A Liberal Democrat motion committed the council to write to Liz Truss, her business secretary and the climate minister reinforcing the county’s opposition to fracking in the county.

A full meeting of the council in Beverley this afternoon voted by 49 votes in favour, with none against and six abstentions.

There were no speeches against the motion and it was supported by the council leader, Jonathan Owen.

He said he had not changed his view on the risks associated with fracking in the East Riding since the council opposed the process in 2016.

“I understand the need for energy security in the UK.

But he said:

“This is not the way.”

Cllr Linda Johnson, who introduced the motion, said her home was in an area licensed for oil and gas production. She asked councillors:

“Whatever political colour you are or none support this motion and send a message to the government: No fracking in the East Riding.”

East Riding of Yorkshire Council, where the Conservatives have a 20-seat majority, declared a climate emergency at the third attempt in 2021.

Another Liberal Democrat, Cllr Denis Healy, said given this the council could do nothing other than declare its opposition to fracking.

He said the East Riding was one of four areas of the country with “vast shale gas deposits”.

“We are in the frame. Companies have got their eyes on this area. And we have energy companies here who are champing at the bit to expand their gas drilling sites in our county in the rush to drill for fossil fuels.”

Conservative Cllr Jane Evison, said fracking would have no benefit to the area but there was a “great deal of danger”. She said:

“There is no doubt in my mind it is something that I would ever want or ever be in favour of.”

Cllr Andy Walker (Yorkshire Group) described fracking as “a reckless gamble with very high stakes”. He said:

“Not content with crashing the economy, Westminster now seeks to crash the environment”.

He added:

“The science hasn’t changed and the geology hasn’t changed and the finance hasn’t changed because make no mistake the oil companies will not be giving us anything to help our winter energy bills. They will be selling it on the international market and it will make no difference to our fuel bills.”

Cllr Chris Matthews (Conservative) also rejected the energy security arguments for fracking:

“If fracking was given the go ahead by the government in the East Riding today it would not take several months but several years to come online and I believe by then we will have found alternatives.”

Cllr Jacob Birch (Conservative), who opposed local oil and gas plans by Rathlin Energy at West Newton, said the motion did not have “enough teeth to make any real difference”.

Another Conservative, Cllr Leo Hammond, supported the motion in principle but described it as weak. Cllr Richard Meredith (Conservative), said the only purpose of the motion would be to provide reassurance to concerned residents.

But Cllr David Nolan (Lib Dem) said the moratorium on fracking was in the 2019 Conservative manifesto and the government had no mandate to change its view. He said the risk to the drinking water aquifer in East Yorkshire was “absolutely critical”.

15 replies »

    • Martin rarely gets the message unfortunately Jack. I’m waiting for the day when this is finally put to bed.

      • I think putting to bed, during energy blackouts, will come before the subject of sourcing local energy is exhausted, Jono.

        Jack has been going on for years about consequences. Looks as if real consequences are about to hit the fan. Strangely, choices do get adjusted then. When the fox is there slaughtering the chickens the cozy support for the fox and the chickens does move somewhat.

    • I hope the cosy glow of environment virtue keeps the E York’s Tories warm over the next couple of winters because it looks like the gas supply may not.

      On a lighter note. I see the government is planning a public information campaign encouraging people to reduce energy use. I remember in the awful winter of early 1963, as a little lad, being sent on the way to school with a home knitted balaclava helmet. Maybe Liz Truss could arrange the nationwide distribution of the knitting pattern. The wool of course came from an unwound worn out woolly jumper. We knew how to be green back then!

  1. I’m not a betting man, but I don’t think fracking will happen here because it’s economically stupid, environmentally stupid and politically even more stupid. But then again, if the cap fits….
    When even E. Yorkshire Tories oppose fracking, you know that it’s a serious vote loser.

  2. Takes me back to when areas were declaring nuclear free. All very good for the consumption of biscuits, but that apart, meaningless signaling.

    • In the case of nuclear free zones, you’re right. I have a sneaking suspicion that Putin and all other potential nuclear warmongers (including our own) might not take much notice.
      In the case of fracking, when democratically elected representatives of entire areas, small or large and even notoriously right wing ones, make such a decision, it sends a clear message that their VOTERS have got the message. Any decision to impose fracking via NSIP or sending the fracking companies out with financial inducements to find a few uninformed or ignorant people, hence claiming to have ‘found local consent’, will be viewed very dimly by the electorate. Even governments determined to impose their will will know that their power and their money depend on the support of their core voters and their tame media. When they see that support waning, they will move in mysterious U turn ways and swear that the previous black is now white.
      That said, it’s hard to believe that Billy Smart’s new government hasn’t already decided that they want to hand a poisoned chalice to the opposition at the next general election.

      • There was a huge leap there, Mike, that local elected representatives do represent the views of voters! They are usually elected on the basis they represent the key views of more of those who vote. The least bad of a bunch. And, once elected, most voters are then disappointed, and are usually closed out.
        Your another oddity is that if locals have agreed to something happening that may impact them then the rest of the electorate are not really of great concern.

        Equally, I am not sure that someone feeling others are uninformed or ignorant will get much support from those so labelled. After all, the locals should not be ignorant and should be better informed if those who want to operate in their locality have done their job. Activists will obviously try and do a different job.

        • MARTIN , MARTIN ,

          GREAT NEWS

          Have just seen Prime Minister, Liz Truss talking on 5:30pm , GB News about the UK energy crisis .

          Green energy and nuclear was discussed , but NO mention of the ” F WORD “

  3. Just heard on Times Radio “the dominant story of the next couple of days will be, Could the lights go out?”. It comes from a leaked National Grid report out tomorrow. Basically you reap what you sow.

    • You do indeed reap what you sow. Many of us who contribute to this site are desperately trying to avoid reaping what the FF industry has so assiduously, intentionally and criminally sown over at least the last 50 years aided and abetted by those who wish to perpetuate the process.

      [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

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