Eric Ollerenshaw column

Eric Ollerenshaw.
Eric Ollerenshaw.

Last week it was great to welcome the school council from Caton Primary School to Parliament and have the opportunity to answer their questions about the House and London.

It is always good to have a local school down to see just what goes on in and I must admit that the service provided by the Parliamentary Education team is a very good one.

My thanks to all the pupils and staff for their visit – it certainly was a bright start to my week and I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.

Parliament saw the launch of the annual report on Freedom of Religion – The Open Doors Report 2015. This report outlines countries across the globe where Christains are persecuted for their religious beliefs.

For me this was a timely report as earlier that day I had taken part in the Holocaust Debate which was made more moving it being the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. As a former history teacher I do think that we can learn from the past – that is of course if we are willing to learn.

Back up in the constituency I met with local people from Friends of the Earth, who wanted to discuss their concerns about Fracking and present a petition. I have, I believe, made clear that I am not in principle opposed to fracking, however I have had, and continue to have several concerns.

As many of you know one of my concerns has been that should Lancashire become the centre of a new shale gas industry and provide a potential solution to our nation’s energy security – I firmly believe that we should be compensated and that local people reap some of the benefits directly.

In addition, I also have concerns about the safety and amount of water that will be available for those who take their water directly from the water table in areas which will be fracked.

I am also opposed to the removal of people’s trespass rights in terms of what happens under their properties. To this end I voted, unfortunately, with only 54 other MPs, to delay any decisions on fracking until these and other uncertainties could be answered.