All fracking applications for Northumberland must be refused believes Green Party

Fracking must be roundly rejected in any part of Northumberland, a Green Party politician vying to be an MP has said.

Rachael Roberts, who will contest the Berwick upon Tweed constituency, has launched a petition demanding that Northumberland County Council commits to refusing all applications for fracking.

She said

“All proposals for fossil fuel extraction in Northumberland, whether by fracking for gas, drilling for oil, or open cast mining for coal, are fundamentally keeping us tied to 19th Century technology – the county council has already recognised that Northumberland has potential to become a world leader in renewable energy, and it is in this clean technology of the future that our investment must be made, not in the polluting technology of the past.”

In 2014, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) invited bids from companies wishing to explore for onshore oil and gas across much of Northumberland.

The areas permitting exploratory drilling under Amble and Rothbury, and between those two towns. The results have not been announced.

Ms Roberts is calling on the council to make a refusal of any fracking activity its policy.

She said:

“Fracking contaminates ground water supplies, where it risks introducing toxic chemicals, carcinogenic hydrocarbons and radioactive matter into the natural food chain.

“The biodiversity that is already stressed from pollution, pesticides and climate change will be under threat: this is a risk that no responsible council should ever consider taking.”

A Northumberland County Council spokesman said:

“The exploratory, appraisal or production phase of hydrocarbon extraction can only take place in areas where the Department of Energy and Climate Change have issued a license.

“The Government is considering a further round of these licences and parts of Northumberland do fall within the areas being considered.

“In addition, planning permission would also be required.

“The emerging Core Strategy includes a number of draft policies that any future planning applications for fracking would be considered against.

“The draft policies set out a range of environment criteria for assessing proposals, including a requirement to demonstrate that any benefits outweigh the adverse impacts on local communities and the environment.”

Ms Roberts’ petition can be found at:

http://committees.northumberland.gov.uk/elps/entity/EI7JtcDdayjvA8jLlIBGfuA?searchreq=50

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 02 Mar 2015

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