Politics

“No fracking” tracking

English councils have begun voting against shale gas development in their areas, in response to the new government polity that fracking needs local support to go ahead.

DrillOrDrop is tracking which authorities have passed motions or made statements on fracking.

We’ll update as we get new information. Please let us know about any decisions or statements that we have missed.

Members of Bath and North East Somerset voting in 2018 to oppose government proposals on permitted development for shale gas schemes.
Photo: council webcast, 13/9/2018

20 October 2022

City of York Council (Lib Dem) voted unanimously for a motion which said fracking poses “unacceptable risks to people, livestock, wildlife, the climate and the environment”. Fracking is not the answer to soaring energy bills and inflation, it said. Investment in clean energy, public transport and energy efficiency would create more jobs, deliver energy security and boost the local economy.

19 October 2022

Cheshire East Council (Conservative) received a motion proposing that it (1) did not support any activity associated with the exploration, extraction or storage and transportation of shale gas on land it owns, leases or manages, (2) council polices be updated to deter all activities associated with fracking and shale gas exploration, extraction, storage or transportation within Cheshire East, and (3) that local MPs be lobbied to support this position. The motion was not debated or voted on and now goes before relevant committees.

18 October 2022

Wealden District Council’s Conservative leader, Ann Newton, said the council, a consultee only on fracking applications, would not, under the current administration, support fracking.

14 October 2022

West Sussex County Council (Conservative) unanimously passed a motion which included:

  • Writing to relevant ministers and MPs to remind them the council’s position is that oil and gas decisions should remain with local authorities
  • Confirmation that council believes that the future of West Sussex is in renewable energy production, not oil and gas
  • Request that changes to national policy are kept under review to ensure the council maintains the tightest possible planning controls on oil and gas developments
  • Noting that the British Geological Survey has confirmed there is no significant shale gas in the Weald basin, including West Sussex

13 October 2022

Lancashire County Council (Conservative) votes unanimously to push ministers to keep fracking decisions with the local planning authority and to seek clarity on what is meant by local consent.

12 October 2022

Fylde Borough Council (Conservative), the Lancashire area where Cuadrilla has fracked three wells, voted unanimously for an amended motion calling on the government to:

  • Set out how local consent will be ascertained in Fylde
  • Confirm the role of the local mineral plannng authority to determine future applications in order to ensure local decision making is retained
  • Demonstrate the Conservative manifesto commitment of 2019 that the party would not support fracking unless science shows categorically that it can be done safely.

Meeting webcast and DrillOrDrop report

Bolton Council (Conservative) voted unanimously to ban fracking on its land and to strongly oppose any attempt by government to weaken or override its powers as a planning authority to deal with fracking applications. More details

Trafford Council (Labour) voted to reject fracking in the borough and called on neighbouring councils in Greater Manchester and the North West to do the same. More details

Vale of White Horse District Council (Lib Dem) voted unanimously for a cross-party motion to oppose fracking. The council said it believed that fracking was an unacceptable alternative energy source for the Vale of White Horse.

10 October 2022

Wirral Council (Labour) votes in favour of a motion calling for the reinstatement of the moratorium on fracking in England. It requests the council leader to write to Jacob Rees-Mogg, business secretary, to invest instead in renewable energy and subsidise adequate home insulation programmes.

6 October 2022

Ryedale District Council, North Yorkshire (Lib Dem leader), voted in favour of a motion to “actively opposed the creation of any new source of fossil fuel in the district. This to include drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for oil or gas.

5 October 2022

Conservative-controlled East Riding of Yorkshire approved a motion opposing fracking the county by 49 votes and six abstentions

North Lincolnshire Council leader, Cllr Rob Waltham (Conservative), said:

“Here in North Lincolnshire our communities do not support it and we will ensure we protect these areas from it. At the end of the day, whatever the science may say, we consider fracking as an industrialisation of the countryside and as with other inappropriate developments we must be consistent in our opposition.”

Bath and North East Somerset Council (Lib Dem control) reaffirmed its opposition to fracking. Cabinet member for planning and licensing, Cllr Tim Ball, said:

“The recent announcement by central government that it has lifted the ban on fracking put in place in 2019 is extremely concerning to the council and local residents.

“Bath & North East Somerset Council has a statutory duty under the County of Avon Act to protect the source of the hot springs in Bath. This in itself would be a significant reason for opposing fracking within our area. However, when added to other environmental risks and impacts – and our commitment to the use of green technologies to help us achieve our net-zero ambitions – the case against fracking in our own and neighbouring areas is clear and compelling.”

4 October 2022

Tameside Council (Labour) voted to write to the prime minister to reiterate the council’s continued opposition to fracking, calling on the government to rethink its decision [on lifting the moratorium in England] and ban fracking once and for all in the UK.

Eckington Parish Council, which includes the village of Marsh Lane where Ineos wanted to explore for shale gas, reaffirmed its position against fracking and declared opposition to any application for hydraulic fracking within its boundary.

29 September 2022

Barnsley Council (Labour) ruled out seeking licences for fracking on its land. Cllr Robert Frost, cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture answered “no” to a question about whether the council would pursue licences for fracking on its land.

Pendle Borough Council (Conservative) voted to ask its MP, Andrew Stephenson, to oppose and campaign against a resumption of fracking.

28 September 2022

Wakefield Council (Labour) voted in favour of a motion to oppose the decision to lift the ban on fracking. Jack Hemingway, the council’s deputy leader and climate change portfolio holder, said of fracking:

“As a solution to our energy crisis it is a fantasy.

“What sort of madness is it to restart fossil fuel extraction years into the future?”

26 September 2022

Leeds City Council (Labour) reiterated its opposition to fracking in a statement. Cllr Helen Hayden, executive member for infrastructure and climate said:

“We re-iterate our position agreed in 2015, that we as an authority are opposed to fracking being imposed on local communities. We would not expect fracking to take place in Leeds unless it has community support.”

North East Derbyshire Conservatives reaffirmed their commitment to opposing any local fracking applications. Cllr Alex Dale, leader of North East Derbyshire District Council, said:

“We’re disappointed the Government has chosen this path and we do not support the lifting of the moratorium, but we urge the Prime Minister to stand by her pledge to not to allow fracking unless there is local support for it.

“here in North East Derbyshire, we have already demonstrated that it is very strongly opposed by our communities and we deserve to have the ability to say no and be listened to.

“Whatever the coming months may bring, we remain absolutely steadfast in our commitment to opposing fracking anywhere within our District. We will continue to work with residents, campaign groups and our MPs to oppose any new plans or applications that come forward.”

North Yorkshire Liberal Democrats said they would urge Conservative-controlled North Yorkshire County Council to reject fracking on land it controlled.

8 September 2022

London Assembly (Labour) back a motion which reaffirmed its position from November 2014 and supported the Mayor’s position against fracking.

What we’re watching

The following authorities are expected to discuss motions on fracking at future meetings: Cheshire West and Chester (20 October), Forest of Dean District Council (20 October)

Councils that declined to make anti-fracking motions

Wiltshire Council (Conservative) refused to make a commitment to ban fracking in the local plan. At a meeting of the cabinet on 11 October 2022, council leader, Richard Clewer, said this would not be sensible and could lead to the plan being overruled. But he added:

“investment in fracking isn’t coming from the large gas or oil producers it’s coming from small companies because that kind of investment needs a 25–30-year return and all the evidence globally is that gas demand will be falling off significantly long before that return will be realised.”  

8 replies »

  1. They better build plenty of manure huts and see plenty of hessian sacks to sleep in!
    Misinformed minorities! Baaaa-baaaa

  2. Misinformed minorities? I think there’s some toys being thrown out of the pram eh Eli ? Fracking is a dead duck and has been for years.

  3. The OGA and BGS both ignored GeoSierra’s warnings of induced seismicity prior to the event at Preston New Road (PNR). The presence of slickenside bedding planes makes it physically impossible to fracture enhance the Bowland-Hodder shales by conventional hydraulic fracturing. The recently released BGS Fracking Review, OR/22/050, completely ignores the presence of the slickenside bedding planes, highlighting the fact that the authors and peer reviewers of this report have no appreciation of the importance of slickenside bedding planes on the hydraulic fracturing process.

    The public were recklessly exposed to unacceptable risks of induced seismicity at PNR, since the OGA (now the NSTA) and BGS did not impose limits on bottom hole injection pressures not to exceed overburden pressure on Cuadrilla’s fracking operations, as recommended by GeoSierra before the event. Exceeding overburden pressure resulted in lifting the overburden and opening slickensided bedding planes for the fracking fluids to travel up to a kilometer away to a nearby fault.

    • It would be nice to think that someone out there with your expertise in the business was listening to you, Grant. Better still one of the Trussian decision makers. Let’s hope so, though arrogance and the Brexit mentality might be more influential in the case of the latter group.

  4. Derbyshire County Council not quite there yet .
    Alex Dale (quoted here) is a NEDerbyshire Councillor AND also a Cabinet Member for Derbyshire County Council who we have not heard from yet !
    The Draft Mineral Plan for D&DCC leaves the door open for fracking, with little protection for people & environment. They can do it.

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