Fleetwood MP steps into fracking debate

Cat Smith - Labour candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood
Cat Smith - Labour candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood
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Anti-fracking campaigners have welcomed support from Fleetwood’s MP in their bid to oppose two planning applications to drill for shale gas on the Fylde.

And Labour’s Cat Smith has said that an appeal for people to co-sign a letter she has written to Lancashire County Council has had amazing support.

The fracking meeting at County Hall, Preston

The fracking meeting at County Hall, Preston

She wrote as the council’s Development Control Committee prepares to consider energy company Cuadrilla’s bid to drill and test frack at sites near Little Plumpton off Preston New Road and at Roseacre.

Planning officers were today due to release their recommendations on amendments made by Cuadrilla to counter worries about noise and traffic relating to the sites.

Today Preston New Road Action Group has welcomed support from Cat Smith which came in her regular My Week In Westminster column published in our sister paper, the Fleetwood Weekly News.

In it she said: “I want to see the County Council reject these applications, which are not wanted by local people.

I remain appalled that the coalition government slashed subsidies for renewable energy whilst, in the words of the Chancellor, George Osborne, giving fracking companies the ‘most generous tax breaks in the world’.

Cat Smith

“I remain appalled that the coalition government slashed subsidies for renewable energy whilst, in the words of the Chancellor, George Osborne, giving fracking companies the ‘most generous tax breaks in the world’.

“We need to be looking at tidal energy here in the Wyre area, which is why I was pleased to see Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham say this weekend that he supports a moratorium on fracking and a move towards renewables.”

She expressed concerns about the safety record of fracking, its environmental impact, industrialisation of the countryside and prolonging the dependence on fossil fuels. And she called on people to co-sign her letter of objection at http://act.catsmith.co.uk/petition/fracking-letter.

Today she said: “It has had an amazing response.

“There were 488 co-signatories in the first 48 hours alone, which shows the strength of feeling.”

A Preston New Road Action Group spokesman said: “Thanks goodness we at least have one local MP fighting our cause in parliament and knowledgeable on the issues.

“It comes as a breath of fresh air from Westminster.

“Knowing that we have some positive support from a local MP is greatly heartening, and we hope that Cat Smith will be able to bring a strong influence to bear from within her own party.”