Chester Residents Travel to Lancashire Following Fracking Decision

By October 17, 2016 blog, News No Comments

On Saturday October 8th 2016, people from Upton and Chester travelled to Lancashire to support fellow ‘frack free’ campaigners, after Communities Secretary Sajid Javid gave the  go-ahead for fracking for shale gas at the Preston New Road site in the Fylde near Blackpool. Planning permission for the site had previously been refused by Lancashire County Council but the decision made on 6th October by the Communities Secretary overturned this in favour of the drilling company, Cuadrilla.

Cheshire West & Cheshire borough Councillor Matt Bryan was asked to accompany and support his local constituents for the day, and travelled to the Lancashire site where up to 400 had gathered in scenes similar to those in Upton in January 2016 following the eviction of Upton Community Protection Camp . Many on the day expressed their opinion that democracy had died or had  not been upheld.

Councillor Bryan commented that “The decision in Lancashire is a complete contradiction of the tories own policy of localism, and is an absolute affront to local democracy. The planning application had been rejected by the county council, and the local community simply haven’t been listened to. People in Chester and in Upton in particular have expressed to me how this has given them little reason to trust in our political system when decisions made through the democratic process simply get reversed by the tory government if they don’t agree with them”

Upton resident Helen Pugh who also travelled to Lancashire  said “Democracy died this week, What we have seen here is that the parish councils said No, the district council said No, and the County Council said No, yet somebody in London said Yes and none of the local views seem to matter. Its a complete joke expecting us to have any faith in the ability of the people who want us to vote for them”.  “My heart goes out to the people here in Lancashire who have been slapped in the face with this decision”

Mike Sallis from Boughton, who described himself as previously a conservative voter, added that “The UK government has committed to ratify the COP21 agreement by the end of the year, Theresa May has said that  she regards climate change as a major threat to global stability and prosperity, yet this decision has in effect just launched a brand new home-grown fossil fuel industry. The two are completely at odds with each other”

Speaking from Upton, local campaigner Brenda Southward said ” It beggars belief really , this Government just do as they please and don’t take anyone’s concerns into consideration.”

Ellesmere Port campaigners have also previously expressed their support for the frack free campaign in Lancashire and are holding a public meeting on Wednesday 19th October at 7pm  at Saint Saviours Parish on Tarporley Road in Ellesmere Port CH66 3JY to discuss the future of any environmental campaigns in the wake of this decision.