Manchester City Council’s dominant Labour group has passed a radically-amended motion about “fracking,” a controversial process of accessing hard-to-reach natural gas. The original motion, which called on the Council to “declare itself a ‘Fracking-Free Zone’,” was put forward by one of the 9 Liberal Democrat councillors on the 96-member Council, Councillor Victor Chamberlain. (MCFly ran a story yesterday about the motion, which you can read here.)
The amended motion, passed by full Council, in part now reads “… calls on the Chief Executive to implemented a policy that supports the Friends of the Earth campaign that would ensure that planning permission will not be given for test drilling or extraction of shale gas (tracking) unless reasonable scientific doubt as to any adverse impacts can be excluded; the proposal is environmentally acceptable, or it can be made so by planning conditions or obligations.”
This is known in the political circles as “wiggle room.”
This amended motion was put forward by Councillor Nigel Murphy, Executive Member for the Environment. Councillor Murphy has declined repeated interview requests made by Manchester Climate Monthly for the last five months. Having grown tired of being fobbed off, we “interviewed” him here. (1)
Full comparison of the original and amended motions, and reaction from interested parties, will follow in due course.
UPDATE: Here’s what Manchester Friends of the Earth sent us (15th July 2012)
“MFOE is pleased that the council is supporting the campaign against fracking and is following the precautionary principle. Evidence is growing of the risks fracking poses to our water supplies, air quality and climate change – and communities across the North West are saying we don’t want fracking here. We hope other councils across the region will follow Manchester’s lead and implement precautionary policies on fracking”
Update: here’s the amended motion. The poor punctuation and grammar is theirs, not ours. Or perhaps “there’s, not our’s”.
(1) In response, a false claim was made by the Head of News at Manchester City Council about whether we had ever gone through “regular channels” in seeking an interview. No retraction or apology has been forthcoming over the last three working days. We will be pursuing the matter.