This week the Government announced that the Secretary of State is to call in the fracking decision in Lancashire. This means that the democratic decisions made by Lancashire County Council will be overruled and the Government will, more than likely, gets its way to “go all out for shale”. The Government simply changed the rules back in August to suit themselves, their donors – ie, the big energy companies, their cronies with vested interests, such as Lord Howell, and their climate change deniers such as Lord Lawson.
The Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government Greg Clark, ie, the chap who will be making the decision, told councils in July that they are on the brink of a once in lifetime opportunity to be masters of their own destiny.
Speaking at the Local Government Association annual conference in Harrogate, Mr Clark called on all cities, towns and counties to be ambitious in their proposals to take power and resources away from Whitehall.
He paid tribute to the recent efforts by councils to create growth and deliver better services that local people want and declared the days when Whitehall dictates what is best as over.
The Secretary of State said:
“I want every place in the country to consider how they can assert their strengths and make their mark.
“We must be a nation of muscular communities – north and south, town and country.
“The government’s Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill is paving the way to sweep a myriad of powers from ministers to town halls.
Mr Clark said:
“This is the chance of a lifetime to direct the future economic prosperity and social flourishing of your area. To make life better for even more people than you can now.”
“Those who are prepared to organise to be more effective and more efficient should be able to reap substantially the rewards of that boldness, whether in costs saved, additional revenues generated, or powers that can be vested.
“I have no doubt about the ability of the people in this hall. Take power now. Don’t let yourself, any longer, be ruled by someone else.”
Empty words that actually mean we will do the opposite if you democratically decide something that we do not agree with.