Councillors object to fracking in Lancaster

A Cuadrilla fracking rig in Sussex
A Cuadrilla fracking rig in Sussex

City councillors have put forward a motion asking the council to oppose fracking in the Lancaster district.

Labour councillors Rob Devey, Darren Clifford, Claire Cozler and Janet Hall say that the focus across the country should be on developing sustainable sources of clean renewable energy, including tidal, off-shore windfarms, solar power and kinetic energy generated by the movements of people and vehicles.

The motion will be heard at a full council meeting at 6pm next Wednesday, September 23, at Morecambe Town Hall.

It states: “Lancaster City Council notes the ongoing consultation which ends on September 29 and could result in licences being granted for oil and gas exploration which could involve fracking in the south of our district.

“We also note the recent report published by Preston City Council into the process and that council’s subsequent resolution. While we would always respond as a consultee to any individual planning application on a case by case basis on planning grounds and carefully weigh up its merits, we believe considerations when it comes to fracking go above and beyond pure planning grounds.”

It also adds that fracking has the potential to spoil our countryside and adversely affect wildlife and habitat, and well as cause the potential for earthquakes.

In an officer briefing note, Lancaster City Council said that it was not the relevant authority in terms of applications for oil and gas exploration, with decisions being made by Lancashire County Council. The city council’s monitoring officer commented that councillors should be mindful that any public statement appearing to indicate that they have formed an intractable or uncompromising opinion on the matter could potentially lead to challenge on the grounds of predetermination if they were to be involved in any decision making in the future.