Fracking was “highly probable” cause of Lancashire earthquake in 2011
Sefton Council leader Cllr Ian Maher
The Labour Councillor submitted the motion for consideration at this week’s meeting on Thursday July 14. In his motion, Councillor Maher said that the use of fracking (hydraulic fracturing for shale gas) as an energy source negatively adds to global climate change and could have a number of detrimental local effects.
The motion says: “Sefton believes that the effects of climate change are clearly apparent on the environment we all share.”
This comes in response to recent decisions by Lancashire County Council to refuse planning applications to drill, fracture and flow test up to four wells in the borough. Councillor Maher argues that decision such as these “highlight the continuing reservations and commonly held concerns regarding the impact of such operations.”
Councillor Ian Maher said: “The motion confirms both our concerns and the concerns expressed by our residents with regards to pollution and safety issues, and until such time as we are convinced otherwise we believe the sensible stance is not to support ‘Fracking’ within our borough.”
Among the local risks listed in the motion are the potential to pollute water resources in Sefton due to the chemical process of extraction as well as the possible impact on water resources due to the impact of the high volume water consumption used in the process. The motion also highlights the increased risk of any seismic activity from hydraulic fracturing.
Fracking was found to be the “highly probable” cause of earth tremors which his Lancashire’s Fyle coast back in 2011, according to a report commissioned by oil and gas firm Cuadrilla.
Councillor Maher’s motion states that: “This Council agrees to confirm its opposition to unconventional gas extraction until such time as the Council is satisfied as to the safety and regulation of the processes and the robustness of mechanisms to mitigate short and long term impacts.”
The proposal also calls on the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and the other Liverpool City Region local authorities to pass a similar motion.
Gloucestershire County Council’s environment and communities scrutiny committee has asked the authority’s Conservative cabinet to look again at its policy on extracting gas from the earth by high pressure fracturing of rock.
The motion to the committee was proposes by Lib Dem Councillor Chris Coleman (St Mark’s and St Peter’s).
“I’m of the opinion that there should not be fracking without many safeguards being in place and I don’t believe that those safeguards are in place. It might be unlucky that there will be fracking in Gloucestershire but if it does happen it will be in some of the most special places in the country, such as the Forest of Dean.”
The motion was passed by the committee and it will be considered by the council’s cabinet when it meets on Wednesday July 20 to discuss the Gloucestershire Minerals Local Plan, which is expected to be adopted in 2018.
Councillor Nigel Moor (C, Stow-on-the-Wold) who is the cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure said: “”This is a consultation process, so I welcome all comments. Our minerals plan is required to follow national policy and be developed properly and legally, otherwise developers will get our planning decisions overturned on appeal. I hope all councillors remember that very serious danger when dealing with this. Gloucestershire needs strong, effective planning policy in place on fracking – party political point scoring mustn’t get in the way of that.”
“The plan is a statutory document that all Minerals Planning Authorities have to produce and this is just one of many stages before the plan is finalised and adopted.
“If cabinet agree, I would encourage as many people as possible to have their say as this blueprint will contain policies that could affect us all.
“Your views are important as they really will help us shape our plan for the future.”
Mr Coleman reiterated that call for as many people to take part in a public consultation. He said: “As many people as possible really need to make their voices heard on this matter.”
After discussion by cabinet next week, the Minerals Local Plan will be put out for public consultation later this year.