Originally published by Rugby Liberal Democrats
To all who have been e mailing the Liberal Democrats about Fracking,
Can we give you the following statement,
Thank you for contacting us over your concerns about fracking. As a Liberal Democrat Councillor I agree with you it must be the local authority which makes these decisions. It should not be decided by Government diktat - I fear if that happens the Conservative ministers will simply approve any planning application. Letters have been sent to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to make these points.
I am concerned that fracking operations pose potential local environmental risks to groundwater quality, from waste and air emissions, to health and biodiversity and to the geological integrity of the areas involved. These are risks likely to be exacerbated by the Conservative government's cost-cutting and deregulatory approach to compliance with environmental standards.
I believe any developments of fracking could also have severe implications for residents, from even greater congestion on local roads to issues with their property. There would be serious questions to answer over any planning application for fracking - both in the interests of residents and the wider global implications.
There are alternatives to fracking such as clean renewable sources of energy: wind, tidal, solar and geothermal energy.
In addition, local Lib Dems are alarmed by the Tory government's premature withdrawal of support for the renewable industries that is now undermining the UK's climate change commitments which we signed up to in December 2015. The Conservatives support for fracking also undermines investment in renewable energy.
The Conservatives in government have unravelled the Lib Dems' good work and we are now seeing cuts to solar and wind subsidies, as well as ending the Green Deal and abolishing Zero Carbon Homes making a mockery of Britain's environment targets. We call for more action to meet our agreed UK targets at the global Climate Change Treaty at the UN in Paris.
I am also pleased that nationally, the Liberal Democrats will be discussing a motion at our conference in York next month to further oppose the government's moves on fracking. And for information, pasted below is the motion passed at last year's Lib Dem Conference on both fracking and renewables.
Cllr Jerry Roodhouse Leader Liberal Democrats Rugby & Warwickshire Councils
Motion: Energy and Democracy
Conference notes that:
A. The new UK government is introducing measures to fast track shale gas drilling planning applications and undermine the democratic integrity of local decisions.
B. At the same time they are withdrawing pre-registration of small scale renewable schemes, and lowering feed-in tariffs, increasing the ﬁnancial risks for individual and community schemes.
Conference recognises that:
i) Local battles over fracking planning applications, in places such as Ryedale and Lancashire, urgently need our support.
ii) Small scale, community renewable energy schemes democratise the energy market and deserve our support.
Conference calls on the UK Government to:
1. Respect local decisions on both renewable energy and fracking, and significantly reduce the frequency with which they are overridden after being called in to be reviewed centrally.
2. Maintain the practice of permitting small scale renewable energy schemes to pre-register for government support.
3. Provide people with access to independent expert advice on ﬁnding finance and gaining planning permission for domestic and community renewable energy schemes