Fracking in Pendle – We don’t want it here! Lib Dems blast Tory plans to make Fracking Easier
Pendle Council, at the full Council last week, re-affirmed its opposition
to any fracking within Pendle, and called on the Government to drop its
plans to make fracking easier. It also challenged Pendle MP Andrew
Stephenson to make his position clear.
The Council passed a motion moved by Liberal Democrat Councillor Tony
Greaves which reaffirms the Council’s opposition to fracking. It responds
to two Government consultations to centralise and speed up fracking
approvals by saying they are “a threat to local democracy and to the
rights of local people and local communities”, and asks the local MP
Andrew Stephenson if he will support these views.
The motion (which is set out below) was supported by all the Liberal and
Labour Councillors present; the majority Conservative group on the
Council split three ways, for against and abstaining, so the motion was
carried with a large majority.
The Government consultations are on proposals that gas exploration for
fracking purposes (not the fracking itself) should no longer need
planning permission; and that decisions on fracking planning applications
should be made by the National Infrastructure Planning Commission and
Government Ministers, not by the local planning authorities (elected
Councillor Greaves said: “These proposals are a serious centralisation of
power. They will allow fracking firms to come and do exploratory drills
without having to get planning permission. They will also allow
Government Ministers to ride roughshod over locally elected Councillors
and the local planning authority by labelling all examples of fracking
itself (however small scale) “nationally significant infrastructure”
which is clearly nonsense.”
One firm has already got a licence to carry out exploratory drilling in
the Burnley-Nelson-Colne area and this proposal would mean it could do so
without getting planning permission. Councillor Greaves added: “It is
obvious that – whatever your thinking of fracking in principle and we are
against it – this area of hills and narrow lanes and roads is not
suitable. We should be able to say so not have it rammed down our throats
by greedy fracking firms and office-bound officials in London.”
Motion passed by Pendle Council:
Pendle Council notes and reaffirms, where still appropriate, the Council
resolutions of 15th October, 2015 and 19th May, 2016 and restates its
opposition to the development of fracking in Pendle.
It notes that while Lancashire County Council is the local planning
authority for mineral developments, Pendle Council is a statutory
consultee and has the responsibility of representing the views of local
(1) The Government consultation to seek views on the principle of whether
non-hydraulic fracturing shale gas exploration development should be
granted planning permission through a permitted development right and in
particular the circumstances in which it would be appropriate.
(2) The Government consultation “Inclusion of Shale Gas Production
Projects in the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP)
Council believes that these two proposals represent a threat to local
democracy and to the rights of local people and local communities.
It resolves to respond to these consultations by opposing their
implementation. In the second case, should the Government decide, in
spite of widespread opposition, to go ahead with the proposal, they must
restrict its application to very large scale operations (and not to the
development of relatively smaller numbers of fracking sites and wells on
a scale that could be implemented in Pendle); such large-scale
developments to be determined only after a full public inquiry followed
by a vote of Parliament.
It further resolves to ask the Member of Parliament for Pendle:
(1) Will he oppose fracking in Pendle?
(2) Will he support the rights of his constituents by opposing the
proposals being put forward in these consultations?