Fracking: New York urges Lancashire to protect its citizens

Fracking rigs like this one are a common site in America.
Fracking rigs like this one are a common site in America.

Elected officials from New York State have written to Lancashire County Councillors urging them to refuse two planning applications for fracking.

The US state banned fracking in December after its Department of Public Health completed a two year study which concluded that fracking poses significant public health risks.

Elected Officials to Protect New York, a network of more than 850 elected officials from across New York State, wrote a letter to councillors asking them to note the conclusions and ensure that the council does not expose its residents to the same health risks.

Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Cat Smith has also been outspoken against the applications by fracking company Cuadrilla, for the two sites at Roseacre Wood, near Blackpool, and Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.

Ms Smith said that a green light for fracking at this week’s hearings in Preston would open the floodgates for new applications across the country, including in Lancaster and Morecambe.

Martha Robertson, Tompkins County Legislator, from Elected Officials to Protect New York, said: “We have written to Lancashire’s councillors as fellow elected representatives to urge them to heed the significant and growing evidence of problems and harms with fracking and to turn down Cuadrilla’s planning applications.

“After studying the public health impacts of fracking for years, New York State Health Commissioner Dr Zucker was clear that he would not let his family live in a community with fracking.

“As elected officials, we share with Lancashire councillors a responsibility to protect our constituents, so we have written to show that it is possible to stand up to this dirty and dangerous industry and ensure residents’ safety.”

Lancashire County Council’s Development Control Committee will decide on Cuadrilla’s fracking applications this week.

The Committee previously met in January but after the Council’s planning officer recommended that both applications were rejected, Cuadrilla asked the Committee to defer their decisions so that the firm could submit further information about the applications.

Over 90,000 people have called on the council to refuse the applications.

The application for Preston New Road, which has been recommended for approval, will be heard tomorrow, Tuesday June 23, at 10am, while the application for Roseacre Wood, which has been recommended for rejection, will be heard at 10am on Thursday June 25.