Blackpool Council says 'no' to frackers as it declares climate emergency

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Blackpool Council has formally set out its opposition to fracking for the first time.

Councillors unanimously backed moves to ensure the authority does everything it can to tackle global warming including to make "clear its fundamental opposition to the practice of fracking."

The fracking site on Preston New Road

The fracking site on Preston New Road

Fracking has also been banned from any Blackpool Council-owned land as part of a declaration on climate change.

There was cross-party support from Labour, the Conservatives and Independents for a notice of motion put forward by council leader Coun Simon Blackburn on declaring a climate emergency.

It called on the council to commit to a raft of proposals including the authority shifting to zero-carbon emissions by 2030 and reviewing all policies to take into account risks to the environment.

Coun Blackburn also included a commitment that the council "will not allow its land to be used for fracking".

Afterwards he said planning rules hampered the council from banning all fracking in the town.

He said: "Some councils and combined authorities have made sweeping statements about ‘banning fracking’, which quite simply can’t be done.

"Every planning application has to be judged on it’s own merits, and a council publicly saying it wants to ban fracking would be highly likely to lose any subsequent planning appeal, because the fracking company would say the council has predetermined the case (already made it’s mind up).

"We’ve now how advice to say that what we can say, is that we wouldn’t permit fracking on our land.

"It is Labour Party policy nationally to ban fracking (which the Government can do, whereas local councils can’t), so our climate change motion seemed an appropriate time to set out our views.”

Cuadrilla has a fracking site on Preston New Road just outside Blackpool in neighbouring Fylde.

Garry Richardson, of the Blackpool and Fylde Green Party, welcomed the notice of motion.

He said: "Blackpool Council can now lead the way along with major cities like Bristol and Manchester who also successfully passed motions that declare a 'climate emergency'.

"I am pleased to see proposals of a citizens' assembly and the setting up of a Climate Change Partnership group. I welcome wider participation and engagement in this very important issue."

A climate change petition launched by Mr Richardson received more than 1,400 signatures.