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Fracking Motions for Local Council Groups from Green Liberal Democrats (January 2015)

February 4, 2015 7:42 PM
By The Green Liberal Democrats

We have a PDF with suggested Fracking motions The contents of the PDF as follows:

Previous Green Liberal Democrats Logo (square) (Green Libdems)

Fracking and other Unconventional Fossil Fuel Extraction

There is a strong desire among environmentalists for the banning or severe restraint of "Fracking". However Local Minerals Planning Authorities (Unitary or County Councils) have to judge planning applications in the light of local plans that reflect central Government policy and that have been approved by the Minister of State.

Councils cannot disregard Government policy. Were they to attempt to do so, they would be liable to compensate fracking companies for any delays caused.

Existing Lib Dem Federal Policy on Fracking is given in the context of electricity generation, in Federal Conference Report, 14 18 September 2013 [1] A motion tightening up Federal policy on fracking was submitted for inclusion in the 2015 Spring Conference agenda but was rejected under the 2 year since previous discussion rule. Look out for the opportunity for your local party to back its selection for debate as an emergency motion at the Spring Conference or at the Autumn Conference.

Specimen Motions for Councils

GLD Suggestion

This Council notes that:

  1. 1. Exploration for fossil fuels reserves that can only be exploited by hydraulic fracturing, or other unconventional methods, undermines action on climate change and diverts resources away from investment in a safe, secure and sustainable low carbon energy future.
  2. 2. There are possible significant adverse impacts from both trial and industrial scale production of fossil fuels by hydraulic fracturing, including:-
  3. a) immediate impacts on communities in [name Unitary area / County /District / Parish ] living near deposits. [2]
  4. b) serious long term impacts, over a very wide area, including water shortage, water pollution and air pollution from the extraction process, in addition to the CO produced when the fuel extracted is used - as 2 highlighted by the European Commission and the UN. [3]
  5. c) Government legislation in progress allows companies to exploit shale gas [5] reserves under privately owned land, even if the owners object.

This Council supports the application of the precautionary principle to its own decision- and policy-making on unconventional fossil fuels, and calls upon Government to respect its decisions.

Possible Additions to introductory "notes that"

4. Most Fossil fuels must be left in the ground if we are to avoid dangerous climate change. 5. The expansion of renewable energy sources is happening more rapidly than anticipated.

Possible Extensions [4]

This Council calls for:
1. Independent assessment of the effect of any proposed extraction:-
a) on the availability of water,
b) on water quality
c) on the atmosphere, including an assessment of the carbon dioxide equivalent, per unit of usable energy extracted, of all emissions, including:
i) those by the ultimate users
ii) those produced in the extraction process, and
iii) those likely to come from leakage at all stages (including from any Carbon Capture and Storage schemes employed.)
2. All planning applications for the use of unconventional methods of extraction, that put the water supply at risk, to be refused.
3. The Mineral Planning Authority, [county or unitary authority name] , to consider a ban on new fossil fuel extraction licences within its area.

Explanatory Notes

[1] Existing Lib Dem Federal policy on Fracking is contained in Federal Conference Report, 14 18 September 2013, page 16, paragraphs 4 m) and n), with l) and m) providing context as follows:-

4. Decarbonise the power (Electricity) sector by:

l) Not allowing new gas-fired generation in the absence of a clear plan to recover heat for supply to industrial or commercial consumers or via a heat network.

m) Limiting shale gas exploration until it has been shown that:

i) Regulations controlling pollution of water, methane gas emissions, sustainable use of water, monitoring of seismic activity and protecting local environmental quality are adequate and are strictly enforced.

ii) Methane emissions are properly monitored and accounted for in the UK's carbon register se gas emissions in the UK's carbon budgets are kept to. so that the legal limits on greenhouse gas emissions in the UK's carbon budgets are kept to.

n) Further conditions on shale gas exploration including:

i) Planning decisions concerning shale gas extraction remaining with local authorities and local communities being fully consulted over extraction and compensated for any damage to the local landscape.

ii) Establishing community benefit arrangements from both shale gas exploration and production, including a 'right to buy in' to shale gas projects in the local area.

iii) A low carbon transition fund using at least half of the total tax take from shale gas exploration and production to fund strong regulation of shale gas exploration, low carbon innovation, initiatives to tackle fuel poverty and encourage the commercialisation of carbon capture and storage technology.

o) Supporting the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.

[2] NB Planning application for fossil fuel extractions are considered by the Mineral Planning Authority, which is the higher tier council [county or unitary]. Parishes and Districts can only advise or suggest.

[3] http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/energy/studies_en.htm

[4] Most Lib Dem Groups will need to assess the level of support from other parties before deciding how much to include in their motions.

[5] Infrastructure Bill [Lords] 2014-15, currently at Commons Committee stage (8 Jan 2015). Check progress of the Bill before using 'notes that 3.'

Motions that have been carried by Councils in Sussex and Calderdale

East Sussex County Council 2012

Lib Dem Proposal (Councillor St Pierre)

E S C C notes that there is insufficient scrutiny of current hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) operations in the UK and as a consequence these operations risk irreversibly polluting fragile water resources and established nature and tourism resources.

East Sussex County Council notes that fracking potentially has other undesirable impacts on rural areas including significant HGV movements and risk of seismic events.

East Sussex County Council acknowledges that exploration of unconventional fossil fuel may undermine the economic rationale for investing in a clean energy future.

Accordingly the Council resolves to:

(a) agree to note the temporary suspension of drilling for shale gas in Lancashire; and

(b) request that members of the Planning Committee receive a briefing on the potential impacts of fracking prior to any planning application in relation to fracking being considered.

The East Sussex motion as amended and passed (after negotiation with other groups)

East Sussex CC acknowledges that there are significant public concerns over the process of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Members of this council and members of the public should be properly and fully informed once the evidence base is established.

Accordingly the Council resolves to:

(a) agree to support the temporary suspension of fracking in Lancashire pending evaluation of the evidence that is being obtained and considered by Government; and

(b) request that members of the County Council receive a briefing on fracking prior to any planning application in relation to fracking being considered.

Calderdale Borough Council 2014

Proposed by Lib Dems, passed with Labour support.

Shale Gas Exploration


(a) this Council notes that it has a responsibility to tackle climate change and protect the environment and the wellbeing of local communities;

(b) this Council acknowledges that exploration of unconventional fossil fuel undermines action on climate change and diverts resources away from investment in a safe and secure renewable energy future;

(c) this Council notes that there are possible significant adverse impacts from shale gas exploration and exploitation, including water contamination and air pollution, and supports a 'Frack Free' declaration for this area; and - this Council calls on her Majesty's Government to impose a moratorium on shale

(d) gas exploration within the UK to prevent the adverse impact it will have on green- house gas emissions and climate change.

(e) whilst this Council remains committed to hearing all planning applications in a fair manner and in full accordance with the law, proposals for shale gas extraction within Calderdale are likely to generate significant public concern.

In the event of such an application we request that our officers take all possible steps to ensure that the environment of Calderdale and the amenity of its residents are protected.

GLD notes on (c)

A "Frack Free" declaration is unenforceable and would be more appropriately, but less impressively, called an "anti-fracking" declaration. An unqualified ban on "fracking" would also cover hydraulic fracturing for access to geothermal energy.

Steve Bolter, Vice Chair (P) , Green Lib Dems. 8 Jan 2015