7 October 2016
Yesterday's announcement by the Tory government to allow fracking in Little Plumpton in Lancashire is a dagger through the heart of local residents and environmentalists everywhere. This is an appalling and contemptible decision on so many levels.
Firstly, the effect this decision will have on people's lives will be profound. Residents in the area will bear the brunt of the impact on the physical environment and the increase in noise and air pollution that the industry will bring. It seems the government are hell-bent on pushing this through despite people's concerns that this could ruin their lives.
Secondly, it directly contradicts promises made by the Tory government to "give local people more say" and "give councils more power and responsibility." (David Cameron, 2009). Lancashire County Council refused permission to allow Cuadrilla to frack at two sites last year but the government has overturned this verdict, ignoring the will of the council and concerned residents in the process. The rhetoric surrounding greater local democracy and more devolved powers to councils is just that - rhetoric. This decision to veto local democratic decisions also sets an extremely dangerous precedent. There are sites within the Liverpool City Region that have been earmarked for fracking and we are deeply concerned about the direction that this is heading.
And, thirdly, this completely subverts the negotiations made at the Paris Climate Change summit less than one year ago. Theresa May spoke only yesterday of ratifying the Paris agreement yet the government's next decision it to grant the extraction of more fossil fuels. It demonstrates, once again, that the government is simply paying lip-service to one of the greatest crises of our time. For a cleaner, healthier environment and to tackle the immediate and long-term effects of climate change we must leave all fossil fuels in the ground and invest more in renewable energy sources now.
The Green Party pledges to stand up to the decisions made by this Tory government that ride roughshod over local people's interests and the environment at large. We will continue to challenge these injustices and support local campaign groups in their fight against the shale industry.
Mike Carter - Sefton Party Green Councillor
Tom Crone - Liverpool City Region Mayoral Candidate and Leader of Liverpool Green Party