28 February 2018
For immediate release
Frack Free Lancashire is extremely concerned by a Decision Item  that Fylde Borough Council has drafted for the upcoming planning committee meeting. In this item, the Head of Planning has recommended that fracking decisions in the Fylde should be decided by central government in Westminster. This runs counter to the accepted principles of local democracy.
Head of Planning, Mark Evans stated that there “would be some merit in the consideration of such planning applications under the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) process.” It was also suggested that this decision item has no impact on Human Rights and Equalities, Sustainability and Environmental Impact, Health and Safety Risk Management: all of this is entirely questionable.
The government’s own recent report on Gas Security and Supply , released in October 2017, gave a strategic analysis of outline energy requirements for the coming years. The government indicated that shale gas is not needed for energy security and did not include it as a contribution to energy requirement figures for the UK.
The same week, the government also released The Clean Growth Strategy  with positive comment from the UK government about a low-carbon future for the UK resulting from ‘decarbonising the gas grid by substituting natural gas with low carbon gases like biogas and hydrogen.’
Theresa May was quoted in the report as saying:
“Clean growth is not an option, but a duty we owe to the next generation, and economic growth has to go hand-in-hand with greater protection for our forests and beaches, clean air and places of outstanding natural beauty.
A spokesperson for Frack Free Lancashire said:
“From the government’s own analysis, fracking cannot be considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project if there is no national need. Local democratic bodies must be allowed to determine unnecessary and unwelcome applications from the oil and gas industry. Cuadrilla’s activities at Preston New Road have already clocked-up five breaches so far this year, resulting in warnings from the Environment Agency. To place decisions relating to this unwanted industry under central government control would be an abuse of our democratic process.”
Fylde Borough Councillor, Julie Brickles said:
“People need to understandthatFyldeBoroughCouncil are effectively washing their hands of difficult decisions and advocating the undermining of local democracy, rendering themselves obsolete.”
NOTES TO THE EDITOR:
- Fylde Council Decision Item: House of Commons Select Committee Consultation
- Gas Security and Supply: A strategic assessment of Great Britain’s gas security of supply
- The Clean Growth Strategy: Leading the Way to a Low Carbon Future