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.
“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.
“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:
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 02 Mar 2015
The Duke of Northumberland’s business venture has been accused of “riding roughshod over the planning system and local communities to make a quick buck.”
Northumberland Estates is also “inundating the county with planning applications which are out of proportion to existing communities,” according to Julie Pörksen, the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Berwick.
The estates has defended itself claiming there is an identified need for 23,000 new homes in the county and that its schemes amount to only a fraction of that number.
It has also hit back at Ms Pörksen labelling her comments “inaccurate and inflammatory” and adding “a cynic might think there was a general election in May.”
Ms Pörksen spoke having attended a public meeting at Warkworth, called by residents who are concerned at the number of houses being proposed for their village – many by the estates.
In recent times we reported on similar scenarios involving the venture at Alnwick, Rothbury and Shilbottle.
The would-be MP has now criticised the estates for submitting excessive applications at a time when Northumberland County Council is still preparing the core strategy of its local plan, with that to ultimately provide guidance on development in communities.
She said: “In the absence of a core strategy for the county, Northumberland has become a free for all for developers.
“Northumberland Estates own a huge amount of land in and around many of our villages and towns and as a result hold a great deal of power over the future of communities such as Alnwick, Rothbury, Shilbottle and Warkworth.
“It is very disappointing that Northumberland Estates are not using their power responsibly and have chosen to inundate the county with planning applications which are out of proportion to existing communities.
“Sustainable development of housing stocks is needed in Northumberland as in some villages young people have nowhere to live, however the estates are not meeting this need but riding roughshod over the planning system and local communities to make a quick buck before the rules change.
“Greater consideration should be given to the impact of proposed developments so any development creates a positive impact on communities, schools, jobs and tourism, parking and traffic issues and the environment.
“I hope the estates will rethink their approach to Northumberland and that the county council will give fair consideration to the views of everyone who has made their views known in the planning process.”
Colin Barnes, director of planning and development at the estates, hit back:
“The council’s recently published local plan sets out a requirement for over 23,000 new homes in Northumberland in order to address problems of population decline, affordability, an ageing population and a lack of investment.
“Our applications meet only a small fraction of the housing which is needed.
“As a major local business and investor in the county we would happily explain the how planning system operates, which is both transparent and democratic, as the comments made are both inaccurate and inflammatory.
“A cynic might think there was a general election in May.”
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 22 Jan 2015
> Cat fight ! The ConDem coalition obviously doesn’t extend to Northumberland…
A parliamentary candidate in Northumberland has been accused of hypocrisy after claiming to be local to the county – but also to London.
Julie Pörksen, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Berwick, has been criticised by Conservative opponents after they discovered literature from when she ran for council in London describing her as ‘local’.
They say the claim is at odds with Mrs Pörksen’s assertions to be ‘local’ in the Berwick seat.
The candidate has defended her local credentials in the county, while her party has laid into the Tories accusing them of “silly attacks.”
Mrs Pörksen’s rivals took to social media to post a leaflet from 2010 when she stood for election for the Lib Dems at Pimlico, London.
The leaflet describes her as a “local mum” and “local resident.”
The Tories say the leaflet is at odds with Mrs Pörksen’s claims in the Berwick constituency, with her website describing her as “a key local campaigner” and press releases referring to her as “local” and “Northumbrian.”
They have also highlighted the fact she lives in the Wansbeck constituency, at Hepscott.
Richard Wearmouth, Conservative chairman for Wansbeck, said: “I am shocked by these revelations, Julie Pörksen has gone out of her way to portray herself as the “local” candidate for Berwick.
“Indeed, she and her colleagues based their campaign in the recent Longhoughton by-election on the fact that they were local campaigners and criticised the Conservative candidate for living just outside the ward even though he had previously lived in the ward for many years.
“The fact that it now emerges that Mrs Pörksen not only does not live in the Berwick constituency, but has recently campaigned for a London council seat describing herself as the ‘local’ candidate in Pimlico, leaves her open to the accusation of hypocrisy.”
Mrs Pörksen responded: “I grew up here in the Berwick constituency – many farming people know my father as a leading light in the local NFU.
“However, like many Northumbrians, the lack of local jobs forced me to look to move away.
“Moving back to Northumberland was the best thing I could ever do for my children and my family is in the process of moving to Rothbury where my children start school in September.
“I want to represent the area where I grew up and which I love in parliament to make sure that future generations aren’t forced to make the same decisions I had to, that there are well paid jobs and decent opportunities here for our young people.”
A local Lib Dem spokesperson added: “When people vote next May, they aren’t going to be swayed by silly attacks.
“They will ask themselves who will fight for us – a former city corporate financier whose local party receives funding from a Russian businessman, and whose party wants local workers to get paid less than those down south; or Julie who was brought up here and will fight for local people to get the A1 dualled, health services in Berwick improved and make sure our new school gets built in Alnwick.”
Source – Newcastle Journal, 02 Aug 2014