PM announces consultation on gauging fracking consent

Liz Truss announced today a consultation on how local consent for fracking would be measured.

The issue has been raised by people and councils in shale gas areas after the government lifted the moratorium on fracking in England and said operations must have local consent.

Responding to a question from Conservative Mark Menzies, MP for Fylde, the prime minister said:

“I can assure him that we will consult on a robust system of local consent, give clear advice on seismic limits and safety before any fracking takes place

“And the consultation will consider all the relevant people, the regional mayors, the local authorities and parishes, as well as the concerns of those directly affected.”

Liz Truss said the business secretary, Jacob Rees-Mogg, would be announcing more details in an opposition debate on fracking this afternoon.

Mr Rees-Mogg is facing legal action over lifting the moratorium on fracking. He had previously said that it would be up to fracking companies to secure local consent.

Mark Menzies, MP

But Mr Menzies, whose constituency includes Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road, in Lancashire, told the House of Commons that shale gas operators must not be involved in assessing local views:

“Can the prime minister assure me that local consent will be measured independently and transparently and under no circumstances will fracking companies be directly engaged in assessing local consent and if people in Fylde say no that that view will be respected and acted upon by this government.”

Conservative Party managers have ruled that Labour’s motion calling for a full ban on fracking is a motion of no confidence in the government and ordered their MPs to vote against. This will put anti-fracking Conservative MPs in a difficult position. If they vote for the Labour motion, they face losing the whip. If they vote against, they will be targeted by the opposition parties at an election.

Photos from Parliament TV

5 replies »

  1. You can see how this government consults in a democratic way.

  2. Democratic way jono? Like the unsolicited slow walking, protesting, abuse of the previous licencing whereas a company within its legal right could prospect without grief from the outside community!!

  3. Ahh, so Labour don’t whip their MPs!

    The only party who doesn’t have to face that issue are? The Greens!

    • Yes, Jono, and Dr Frank Rugman, you are both correct. The link you provided, which is also in several online papers, has shown what can only be called ‘antidemocratic bribery’ rather than allow MP’s to vote on their own constituents’ behalf. The indicates an almost frantic attempt to overturn the objecting MP’s democratic duty to represent the objection to any fracking at all. Is that the way in which the conservative party wish to be seen? Then what of future parliamentary votes? Political or representative of their constituents? Perhaps the constituents should evaluate who votes in favour of fracking to decide whether their representative MP, is even doing what they were elected for in the first instance?

      However, as has already been established before, that a mere frantic politically motivated vote in Parliament does not overturn or even address the proven physics, geology, structural and dangerous aspects involved. Nor does a vote overturn the conditions that must be proved by the government to no longer pose an earthquake threat or any other type of threat to the local residents. Including the dangers from fracking chemical pollution, water contamination, noise and light pollution, and dangers to pedestrians and residents, buildings and services.

      Also, there are the legal and physically quantitive threat measurement conditions that protect the moratorium from being overturned by a mere vote in Parliament. None of that has even been mentioned, let alone proved by anyone to be satisfactory to the entire population in any way whatsoever. A mere political vote will not even approach such a complex informed requirement unless all the parameters and caveats are clearly written down in plain simple unequivocal and unbiased terms. Nowhere, in those parameters, must there be intimations of whether any vote, one way or the other, to be a danger to the present government’s survival or not.

      Unfortunately, the government’s present reliance upon the out of date ‘Richter Magnitude Scale,’ requires a very necessary re-evaluation to the far more appropriate magnitude scales. The Richter Scale is a simple Magnitude scale, and does not measure any damage factor, it merely measures a local surface tremor. The Richter scale is insufficient if inappropriate to measure the local earthquake damage factor effects of the geologically complex situation of the United Kingdom. Whereas the modified Mercalli intensity scale (MM or MMI) specifically measures the local ‘damage factor’ in a *’seismic intensity scale used for measuring the intensity of shaking produced by an earthquake.’* The modified Mercalli scale measures the shaking intensity at all levels of the formations, no matter how deep, or shallow or at what location. The Moment Magnitude Scale, (Ms) was developed to measure the magnitude scale in a more extensive improvement, of tremors, however it doesn’t measure the damage factor as the modified Mercalli scale is intended to do.

      So the government must re-evaluate specifically for damage factors, not outdated magnitude scales, before any fracking trials are carried out. Not only that, all the buildings that are structurally evaluated to be in imminent danger of structural collapse should be structurally strengthened and repaired, or rebuilt before any local fracking takes place. A series of bonds should also be assured by the government and the operators in order to repair any subsequent damage resulting from earthquakes caused by fracking operations. Then, and only then, should the imposed ‘toleration’, be justified.

      That also leads to another caveat, and that is, as I have pointed out previously. There are building which are already in danger of imminent structural collapse around the country. Due to the government dragging its feet over repair and strengthening, in favour of ‘temporary propping up’ As yet little or nothing has been done to rebuild or replace any of those buildings, and the present expense and dearth of building materials is unlikely to improve in the short term. Those include 34 hospitals, also schools, public and private buildings. All of which are still occupied.

      Therefore, the second requirement prior to any test cases being carried out, will be to structurally evaluate every building in the locality and either carry out emergency structural repair and strengthening. Much like the bridges in the United Kingdom were reconstructed and strengthened when the United Kingdom entered the European Union because the EU allowed much heavier, longer HGV articulated trucks than was the previous case in the United Kingdom. That is a legal and structural precedent condition.

      Now there has been another U turn, in that a ‘supposedly’ new poll/referendum U turn, is being suggested by Jacob Rees-Mogg, then all of these aspects and many others, that highlight the dangers posed by lifting the fracking moratorium must be made known by the government in any such poll/referendum.

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