Councillors demand answers on fracking

Residents and neighbours of Roseacre village gather to protest against fracking in the area

Residents and neighbours of Roseacre village gather to protest against fracking in the area

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Councillors in Lancashire are demanding for a full report into the impacts of fracking on rural communities.

At a council meeting today, Thursday February 26, councillors unanimously passed a motion asking that the government release a full and unredacted report into the impacts of shale gas drilling on rural communities.

A Department for Rural Affairs (Defra) report called Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts considers the economic and social effects of opening up large parts of rural Britain to shale exploration.

The department was forced to publish it last Spring after a Freedom of Information request on behalf of Greenpeace, but it was heavily redacted, with more than 60 passages blacked out.

County councillors are to vote at the end of April on whether to approve plans by Cuadrilla to frack at two sites in the county.

Gina Dowding, county coun for Lancaster Central, who put forward the motion, said: “We can only assume that the Government is hiding from us the negative effects that shale gas will have on the economy in Lancashire.

“If they have nothing to hide they could have just published the report whole.

“I think that it is arrogant of central government to hide information from local people. It is like a judge hiding evidence from the jury - while telling them what decision to come to.

“It is absolutely clear that this government intends to force shale gas on Lancashire -regardless of the social and environmental costs.

Coun Coun Marcus Johnstone, who put forward a similar motion, said: “We hope that government will listen to local representatives.”