Keep fracking decisions local – Lancashire to tell ministers

The county which hosted the UK’s only high volume fracking sites voted unanimously this afternoon to keep planning decisions on the process with the local planning authority.

Anti-fracking campaigners outside Lancashire County Council, 13 October 2022. Photo: Frack Free Lancashire

The decision followed the government’s lifting of the moratorium on fracking last month and a commitment by the prime minister that there must be local consent.

Conservative-controlled Lancashire County Council approved a motion to ask the government to “commit to decision-making on fracking to remain solely with locally-elected members in the local planning authority”.

The industry has been lobbying for decisions to be made by a government minister.

Today’s full council meeting also resolved to “seek clarity” from the business secretary, Jacob Rees-Mogg, on how consent would be measured and who would be consulted on any proposed fracking activities in Lancashire.

The final wording used amendments by the ruling Conservative group and the Labour opposition, and parts of the original motion from the Green Party councillor, Gina Dowding.

She told the meeting in Preston:

“We know best at a local level. It is the public that get to understand all the risks. They live with it. Local people end up being the experts and they can best judge, and so do our elected members.”

Cllr Dowding said the Conservatives had broken their 2019 election manifesto commitment to maintain the moratorium on fracking unless there was evidence that it could be done safely.

She said the manifesto had been lifted “with no notice, with no new evidence, no consultation and without social permission of the public of the UK”.

The prime minister had failed to define what she meant by consent, Cllr Dowding added. But she said:

“People in Lancashire have already said no. Public opinion is against fracking. Local Tory MPs are against fracking. Local Tory ministers are against fracking, The planet cannot hack fracking.”

She added that future hydrocarbon applications should be required to prove they had a net zero impact on the climate emergency.

Stick to manifesto – says Fylde

Last night, Conservative-controlled Fylde Borough Council, which covers the area of the Preston New Road shale gas site, voted unanimously to ask the government to stick to its manifesto commitment on fracking.

Speaking during a debate, Cllr Paul Hayhurst said living near a fracking site “blights” house prices. He said residents near one proposed well had to sell at £50,000 under the asking price.

He described the suggestion that the government would give people £1,000 to support fracking as “like turkeys voting for Christmas”. He said:

“You take your £1,000 and it will cost you £50,000 when you try to sell your houses.”

Another Fylde councillor, Matthew Lee, said 85% of residents were against fracking in an online survey he conducted last week.

9 replies »

    • Ahhhh the minorities looking for the UK PLC’s lights, to go out… I wonder what they know, that the rest of us don’t!
      To be the privileged few…

      • Eli_Goth:
        But the saintly and wise Kwasi Kwarteng has already spoken:
        “First, the UK has no gas supply issues. And even if we lifted the fracking moratorium tomorrow, it would take up to a decade to extract sufficient volumes – and it would come at a high cost for communities and our precious countryside.
        “Second, no amount of shale gas from hundreds of wells dotted across rural England would be enough to lower the European price any time soon.
        “And with the best will in the world, private companies are not going to sell the shale gas they produce to UK consumers below the market price.”

        • Why would they sell their gas to UK Consumers for a discount, Do you discount your Dr consultation value to ‘special’ clients?
          You seem to know a lot more than most!

        • Second opinion required.

          I saw my GP this week and whilst his consultation was okay, he then tried to explain that the broad- spectrum antibiotic I was taking needed to be changed. Unfortunately, it was not a broad- spectrum antibiotic, and just maybe that is why it needed to be changed!

          Private companies have indeed offered to sell some of the shale gas they might produce below market price, by discounting the energy bills for locals. It would not be out of the grasp of Kwasi to then make sure it was sold at a discounted price to everyone-via a windfall tax. As has already been done for N.Sea production.

          What is the market price? On the Henry Hub, USA, it was $7 per MMBtu in July, whilst at the same time it was $47 per MMBtu on the Dutch TTF. From that example there would appear to be many markets for gas. Which one the UK enjoys is the question Kwasi should consider.

          • Thanks Martin,
            You say ”…Kwasi should consider”
            But I believe you may be somewhat out-of-date ?
            Larry the cat may now be the only constant inhabitant in Downing St.(10 or 11).

            • Indeed, Frank. He has lots of time to consider.
              However, the new one might want to consider whether what they put forward is more accurate. If they do, I wonder if you will quote them? $7 or $47 may still make them consider whether they want to spend taxpayers’ money on subsidizing $47 or trying to move more towards $7 and having taxpayers’ money to spend on other things.

  1. Great to see the stand of councils sending clear messages to this chaos of a government. Mogg needs to understand that we don’t live in Victorian times .

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