Government riding roughshod over us
So, the Government has unsurprisingly reneged on its promise and has decided that fracking can take place beneath Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a decision taken without the opportunity for MPs even to debate it first.
Has it occurred to them that fracking sites themselves, each one bigger than Wembley football pitch, will be placed just outside these areas, also in beautiful, scenic areas, with all the consequent disruption, congestion and pollution that this will create?
The countryside does not cease to exist just because it is outside a designated protected area. Following the decision, Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom attempted to reassure us by stating that applications to frack in those locations would have to be approved by local planners.
A few months ago, our elected councillors at County Hall, Preston, took the brave decision to refuse Cuadrilla’s applications to frack at Preston New Road and near Roseacre village. This was a shining example of the Government’s commitment to encourage localism. What happened? This didn’t suit the Government, so they have now decided to overrule the local process by placing the final decision in the hands of one man, Greg Clark, Secretary of State for a pro-fracking Government.
There is an increasing feeling of despair that while our elected representatives at Whitehall continue their headlong dash for shale gas, the views of the residents of this country, together with the democratic systems put in place to protect them, are blatantly disregarded.
Whether a supporter of fracking or a campaigner against it, what an example this is to set to decent law-abiding citizens and, in particular, to the impressionable young.
We have a Government who continue to change the rules to suit their own agenda, making promises they then break, over-riding policies they themselves put in place, and riding roughshod over the very people who put them in office. How can we be expected to believe anything that these politicians say any more?
Prioritise nature over shale gas
The news that MPs approved fracking in national parks, as well as plans by fracking firms to drill 68 shale gas wells in England in the next five years, is further evidence to suggest that the fracking in the Fylde is likely to get the go-ahead and probably to a large scale in the long-term future.
This is all very worrying for those of us who believe in democracy at all levels of government, and more importantly in environmental protection. We should be investing in safer and cleaner forms of energy rather than going ahead with fracking. Also, it is absurd that in the Fylde where there is huge opposition to fracking, the Conservatives who are staunchly pro-fracking got 49.1 per cent of the vote in 2015. Therefore, we need to prioritise the natural environment over economic and financial interests if we want social and economic stability in the Fylde in the long-term future.
Why is new runway different for MP?
Given one of our local MP’s enthusiasm for LOCAL decisions for LOCAL people on LOCAL fracking applications in Fylde, a decision recently adjudged to be of “major importance having more than local significance”, I thought he might like to reflect on the following barnstorming speech made in the House Of Commons on local opposition to a proposed new runway at Heathrow Airport.
On November 26, it was stated in the House: “It is frustrating that we have spent all this time prevaricating and being sucked down by, in effect, glorified nimbyism. I say to Members from west London: It is not about you; it is about the future of the United Kingdom.”
And again in the same session: “It is frustrating that national infrastructure issues that affect not just London but my constituents in Fylde are being sucked down to the lowest common denominator of what is right for a handful of constituencies in west London.”
This impassioned call for brave decisions to deliver projects which are of more than local significance was made by one Mark Menzies MP for Fylde.
A bit of inconsistency in his views on these similar topics is required.
Name and Address supplied
Council pay-out is an ‘idiotic decision’
Lancashire County Council (LCC) has announced it is spending £6.6m on consultants to tell them how to save money (Gazette, December 17).
Surely the officers and the political leadership should be making those decisions and, if they are incapable of doing so, they shouldn’t be in post?
At the same time, the county council is closing libraries, museums and youth clubs and so on.
This decision ranks with the idiotic decision by the county council to bail out its Labour colleagues at Preston City Council by buying the Preston Bus Station and then cutting the bus services.
It really is a case of the lunatics running this particular asylum.
It is no wonder that Wyre Council voted not to join Lancashire County Council in a combined authority.
Councillor Peter Gibson
Leader, Wyre Council