Ewa Barker reports
What wonderful news yesterday! Lancashire Councillors, who have been besieged by demonstrations against fracking every day last week, have, against expectations, refused to grant Cuadrilla permits to explore for shale gas at two sites in Lancashire. Everyone said their decision would set a precedent for the many applications still to come. And so it has, a signal to our side that we can win!
Of course, this is only one battle – the war continues. It is by no means certain that fracking in Lancashire has been defeated, let alone at all the other sites the fossil corporations have their eyes on. Still – our side will find it easier to organize resistance – as we must – to oppose every single application from them. This victory is not just the result of resistance in Lancashire – actions in Balcombe and Barton Moss made their contributions too, as did the hundreds anti-fracking local groups which have formed whenever there is a fracking smell in the locality.
Cuadrilla is only one company active in the field. Igas, of Barton Moss fame, three days ago published in “Proactive Investor” their plans for the next 12 months. They intend to gather more seismic data, secure new sites, make several planning applications and drill further exploratory holes and appraisal wells at their East Midlands site.
A note of caution. The grounds for refusal of permits in Lancashire, and elsewhere so far, have always been the disruption to traffic, the noise etc. The far more damaging effects of fracking: pollution of the water table and air, methane leakage and damage to health, climate change and its dangers are never mentioned. This strikes me as far from accidental. Such narrow grounds for refusal mean that they have not ruled out fracking in principle – only these applications in particular.
Still – a victory is a victory!