Frack Free United
Communities, Green Industry, Campaigners and Politicians Unite to condemn the threat to local democracy.
Shale Gas Exploration to be ‘Permitted development’
Communities and Green Industry across the UK have condemned the green light given to the shale gas industry by the Tories. The Conservative manifesto makes it clear that they intend to take decisions on shale gas drilling plans out of local control and allow drilling to be considered as ‘permitted development’ without the need for planning permission and allow major shale planning decisions to be made by a government minister rather than a local council planning committees.
Steve Mason from Frack Free United said:
“The Tory manifesto is a game changer for local communities and the environment. They are giving a blank cheque to the fracking companies, allowing them to trample on communities. It’s a worrying development, the companies will use the dubious definition of fracking in the recently amended infrastructure act to ‘frack’ in our back yards. This should have alarm bells ringing for ALL those who believe in letting the people have their say.”
“The manifesto shows a complete failure to take local democracy seriously. Green energy has to go through the correct democratic process but the conservatives are giving fracking companies a clear advantage. It has never been more urgent to increase our use of renewable energy and yet the Tories are backing using more fossil fuels and fracking. The environment and our countryside is simply not safe in their hands.”
Roy Moreno – Head of Environment and Sustainability, The Green Energy Advice Bureau
The implication that the UK could benefit from shale gas fracking in the same way that the United States has, is misleading and based on speculation.
Whilst there are various estimates around the potential volumes of shale gas that “could” exist, how much of it is actually recoverable is open to wild speculation, and how effective it would be at reducing energy prices is dependent in part on global oil and gas prices which fluctuate on a daily basis.
Analysis has shown that the potential long term negative impacts to the environment, communities and tourism in the UK, far outweighs the claimed short term employment and financial rewards on which fracking is so often sold.
It is exactly this reason that promoters of fracking wish to simplify and weaken the planning processes, in the hope that they can circumvent the overwhelming public opinion and evidence against fracking and “jump the fence” into unsustainable short term profiteering for the few.
Working with thousands of UK businesses The Green Energy Advice Bureau has provided access to green gas generated from sustainable sources and waste streams, helping reduce their carbon footprint and support the development of green UK infrastructure. However, there is a shortage in the supply of affordable green gas despite the growth in market demand.
Studies show that green gas generated from grass alone could power 97% of Britain’s homes employing up to 75,000 people and injecting £7.5 billion into the rural economy every year.
Government focus should be on strengthening our own supply of green gas whilst simultaneously reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and meeting our climate change obligations and goals.
Instead of high risk shortcut’s, the UK now needs clear leadership towards more sustainable sources of energy to achieve energy security, job creation, sustainable economic growth and a fairer more secure future for all.
Community campaigner comments
Leigh Coghill from Frack free Ryedale said:
"The Conservatives are living in a land of make-believe, cherry-picking information and ignoring proven harms to the ecology, human health and rural economies, which have led to US and Australian states banning fracking.
Even best-case-scenario fracking would be a travesty for northern England and the Midlands as it would irreversibly industrialise huge parts of the countryside. Any short-term benefits would be dwarfed by long-term negative impacts.
It is completely irresponsible to claim that the path to lower carbon emissions lies in developing a new fossil-fuel industry, a point which all opposition parties have already refuted. Cleaner than coal does not mean clean.
Refusing local authorities the right to have a say in the drilling of new wells reek of desperation, as opposition at this stage is a clear hurdle to fracking development.
The Conservatives have already proven they are ready and willing to ride rough-shod over local democracy and force fracking on communities where local authorities refuse it."
Claire Stephenson from Frack Free Lancashire:
"As we've seen in Lancashire, democracy has been overridden by a government who puts big business and vested interests before the health, safety and wishes of local communities. This is a precedent that has been set which needs halting with immediate effect. Communities will not idly stand by without challenging such blatant corruption."
Stuart Lane Cross Party Frack Free:
“Cross Party Frack Free is backed by hundreds of elected officials from around the UK that understand that fracking forms no part of sensible energy policy. They see efforts to enforce this process on communities as un-democratic, the direct risks to our environment and health are seen as reckless and biased oil and gas industry support is viewed as causing a huge opportunity cost for the renewable sector. We have a simple choice, strong and stable support for a clean future proof energy sector, or dirty, economically nonviable, damaging smash and grab policies that move us further away from a robust sustainable energy sector.”
Letter to conservative MP Mark Menzies from conservative voter - https://www.frackfreeunited.org/fracking-news/
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