Statement by James A Cameron to CWaC Working Party on Unconventional Gas and Oil, Meeting 3 on 15.1.15
Thank you for your proposal regarding publication of evidence on a third party website. This might be acceptable subject to detail of how it is accessible, managed and maintained.
Councillor Reggie Jones raised several issues regarding faults in this enquiry process which remain unanswered by your statement, despite his offer and mine to help resolve these matters.
I have pointed out the Council’s obligations to publish Information as required by the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and the Aarhus Convention 2001 with its broader requirements of public involvement.
I have questioned the Openness, Transparency and Fairness of this enquiry which has so far;
- failed to publish evidence supplied by the public in response to the council’s calls for evidence;
- failed to give the public a fair opportunity to question invited speakers, abandoned the 10 minutes for each meeting provided in the terms of reference and allowed only 4 minutes in the 2 meetings so far;
- failed to respond to our comments on the misinformation provided by the speakers from the industry and regulatory systems;
- failed to balance invited speakers which we count for the first 4 meetings as 12 for Unconventional Gas and Oil and 4 against;
- failed to involve the public in the setting up of the enquiry or its inspection of drilling sites;
- and I understand that the Council is now refusing to provide information required under the Freedom of Information Act on the spurious grounds of “Public Safety Considerations”:
I am therefore extremely concerned about my involvement in this apparent charade of an enquiry but will continue to make my views clear as a duty to our residents whose health and well-being should come first and foremost and far before the seductions of this dangerous and discredited industry.
The Public should be told the Public Safety Considerations rather than the Council withholding evidence and information which appears to be the current state of affairs.