Council backs no fracking in Pendle
The council passed a motion at its latest meeting, moved by Liberal Democrat Coun. 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 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 councils).
Coun. 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 received 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.
Coun. Greaves added: “It is obvious that whatever you 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.”