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Environment :: Fracking
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Tory government minister Sajid Javid has given permission for energy company Caudrilla to drill four wells to frack for gas at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton in Lancashire. This is, completely undemocratically, in spite of a previous decision by Lancashire County Council to refuse planning permission.
On another site under appeal at Rosacre Wood, Javid said he is minded for it to go ahead but has left it under review.
This decision comes as no surprise to anti-fracking groups across the country. We have seen how the Tory government has changed or introduced laws to assist the shale gas industry, while at the same time blocking the growth of renewables.
The big fear is that this undemocratic decision could open the floodgates for fracking all over the country. Local councils will not see the point in refusing planning permission knowing that central government will overrule them on appeal.
We know of worldwide examples of the dangers of fracking. But Caudrilla claims that it is safe and that health and safety controls are much more rigorous in Britain. This is complete nonsense.
The government has prioritised the energy industry's quest for big profits from fracking and as usual has put profits before people.
If the UK is to ratify the Paris agreement on climate change as promised by Theresa May, fossil fuels must be left in the ground and more resources put into renewables. This would create long term, decent, skilled jobs and not destroy the environment.
As socialists we must campaign to stop fracking and for democratic public ownership of the big energy companies.
"The Tory government has once again come down on the side of big business and ignored the will of the people. Studies have found that in other countries, the shale gas extraction method has poisoned water supplies and heightened earthquake risk", says Kevin Bennett, Socialist Party member and former Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition councillor.
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Article dated 12 October 2016
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
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