#Salford Cabinet refuses to discuss #fracking despite 3,000-strong petition

Local residents opposed to drilling on Barton Moss gathered at Swinton Civic Centre as Salford Council cabinet members were presented with a 3000+ strong petition against the controversial practice of fracking. Ali Abbas, the originator of the petition presented a powerful 5 minute case against dirty unconventional fuels. [See text here]

Salford City Council gave planning permission for exploratory drilling at Barton Moss and the site’s seen constant protests since equipment began moving in. Many people have been disappointed at the level of consultation between the Council and local residents. Drilling company iGas needs further planning permission to carry out fracking, and it is expected they will apply to the council later this year.

Manchester Friends of the Earth’s Ali Abbas said:
“The petition was created to compel the Council to discuss the unacceptable risks that fracking and coal bed methane pose to neighbouring communities, the climate and the local environment. Extraction of these kinds of unconventional gas would conflict with Greater Manchester’s Climate Change Strategy and the target to cut emissions by 48% by 2020 – instead of risky fracking, Salford should back clean renewables and community energy instead.”

The anti-fracking campaigners received high profile local support with Actor and Salford resident Maxine Peake saying:

It is of utmost importance that we prevent fracking from becoming a reality in this country. We must stop the Goverment’s bribing of local authorities into participating in this disastrous exercise. No to Fracking! Stand up Salford before it’s too late.’

Sandra Dutson, from Frack Free Greater Manchester and an Eccles resident said,

“I’m very disappointed that the petition wasn’t debated. I’ve researched fracking and am totally against it on grounds of its impact on climate change and local risks to water, air and land use.

“I want to be assured that Salford council are properly informed about the impacts and that they too would want to protect communities in Salford by ruling out the possibility of fracking.”

Friends of the Earth’s press release continues “Fracking is a dirty word. The Government is threatening to puncture our green and pleasant land with countless fracking rigs in a headlong dash for gas, with little thought to local people. Shale gas is a dirty fossil fuel that contributes to climate change, and it poses serious local environmental risks such as water contamination and shortages. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest it won’t lower fuel bills, and it risks taking much-needed investment away from renewables and energy saving. For more information, and to send a clear message to the Government that fracking is a dirty word, visit www.foe.co.uk/fracking.”

 

Footnotes
(1)Mayor Ian Stewart argued that Salford councillors could not comment on fracking issues due to concerns over ‘predetermination’ and any future planning applications. However, Manchester Friends of the Earth understand that the ‘predetermination’ rules have changed so that councillors aren’t excluded from voicing opinions. The clarified rules on predetermination still require a planning committee member to have an open mind when determining a planning application. However, proof of previous campaigning against a proposed planning application would not be proof that the member had a closed mind. For more details see:

http://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2012/january-/localism-act-clarifies-rules-on-predetermination/

http://www.planningresource.co.uk/article/1173984/two-thirds-councillors-unaware-predetermination-rule-change

NB The above has been lifted from the Friends of the Earth press release. MCFly has undertaken no independent research.

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About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
This entry was posted in Democratic deficit, Energy, Fracking, press release journalism. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to #Salford Cabinet refuses to discuss #fracking despite 3,000-strong petition

  1. cllrcpaul says:

    I’d say Ian Stewart would normally be wrong on the predetermination issue as there is no planning app in process and if there were one current members of the planning committee could leave the room, unless there is some specific legal concern. Manchester City Council meanwhile has firm policy against fracking and should be turning that into a planning note.

    • Cheers,

      Some cynics might disagree with the “firm policy”-ness (see this story -https://manchesterclimatemonthly.net/2014/04/01/igas-get-permission-to-frack-in-albert-square-central-manchester/ – the relevant (and not made up!) quote being …. did pass a motion in July 2012 saying “we wouldn’t give any planning permissions for either exploratory sites or fracking sites until it was clear there are no scientific doubts regarding the process.”)

      Can you explain what a “planning note” is for those who don’t know (e.g. me!) and when that might be likely to happen (presumably not before May 22nd?)

      • cllrcpaul says:

        Well I suppose if you think scientific doubts might evaporate (I don’t) so that there were none then you might view the decision as something other than firm policy! I view it as firm policy.

        Some matters not covered at all or in detail in any Council’s main planning documents (e.g. Core Strategy and retained policies) find their way into Additional Planning Guidance Notes which are also “material planning considerations” – evidence that the quasi judicial Planning and Highways Committee consider as they make decisions.

  2. Here in London we (Wanstead & Woodford Friends of the Earth) tried to get our council (Redbridge) to take a stand against fracking. An open letter to the Leader was printed in the local paper – however, not only did the council lack the courtesy to reply directly to us, it also told the paper that fracking wasn’t a local issue. This didn’t stop neighbouring local authority (Waltham Forest) from unequivocally banning it, which was something of a novelty, reported in all the papers. Of course Waltham Forest has a large Labour majority, and Redbridge a Tory one…What about ordinary people who couldn’t give a toss about politics as long as they are respected and listened to?

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