We need a debate on local tracking

Further to Avril Hesson’s letter “Fracking is a real threat”, I would like to remind readers that Pendle Council said it would debate the issue of fracking.

A representative of Keep East Lancashire Frack Free was only allowed to put a question to the leader on the subject at a meeting of the full council on Thursday, July 17th, and not make a full presentation, as has been allowed by other councils in East Lancashire.

However, following that council meeting, the leader did promise on Facebook that the full council would consider the matter before the end of the year.

I hope they will honour that commitment.

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This debate is important as Cuadrilla, a drilling company with interests in fracking in West Lancashire, has said the M65 corridor north-east of Blackburn through Burnley and Colne has the potential to become a major shale gas resource.

The Government has recently put the licensing of sites in East Lancashire up for sale. Pendle Council will be asked for its views when consulted by Lancashire County Council over any application to explore and extract shale gas within the borough.

If fracking is allowed in Pendle, there is a potential contravention of Pendle Council’s vision, strategic aims and priorities in their current local plan, which “seeks to conserve and enhance our quality environment”. Further, two of eight agreed priority outcomes in the Sustainable Community Strategy of the Pendle Council’s strategic plan (2014–2018) include to: Improve health and well being and help people live long, healthy and independent lives (healthier):

Care for our environment and deepen our understanding and respect for our surroundings (greener).

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In addition, one of their three strategic objectives is: “ensuring a cohesive, healthier and safer Pendle”.

This is a pressing matter as the Government has introduced legislation to allow fracking under people’s homes.

In order to have a balanced and informed debate, can I suggest that the council invites Cuadrilla to put forward the case for fracking and a representative from KELFF to put forward the case highlighting the dangers of fracking?

David Penney