Half-time on Fracking lobby of Council – can you join us for the second half on Weds 15th January?

Kirklees Council fracking lobby Dec 2013

Thank you to the people who joined us for the Fracking lobby outside Huddersfield Town Hall on December 4th.

We worked jointly with Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace in meeting Kirklees councillors as they entered for their meeting in which the Kirklees Green Party’s anti-fracking motion was tabled.

We offered all Kirklees councillors copies of Friends of the Earth’s briefings on fracking for shale gas and coal bed methane as well as Greenpeace’s ‘Wrong Move’ leaflets. The action was covered by Huddersfield Examiner.

Council proceedings ended at 9 p.m. without a vote on the motion so we plan to continue the campaign into the New Year. The motion has now been re-submitted for a full council meeting on Wednesday 15th January.

We’ll be organising another lobby of the Town Hall on 15th January. We would be very grateful if you could consider either (a) attending the lobby outside the Town Hall from 4.15pm-5.00pm or (b) attending the meeting in the public gallery from 8pm to 9pm. We may also put together a delegation to speak to the council on the day. If you are interested in getting involved in any of these actions, please email us for further details.

The Green Party’s motion notes the negative environmental impacts of fracking and coal bed methane, particularly in relation to greenhouse gas emissions, water use and ground water contamination. It calls on the council to develop a policy on shale gas and coal bed methane and calls for increased funding to develop the green economy in Kirklees in order to create jobs and stabilise energy bills. A very similar motion, also submitted by Green Party councillors, was passed by Sheffield Council earlier this year.

Councillor Andrew Cooper, who is also Green Party National Energy Spokesperson says, “It makes no sense to extract fracked gas out of the ground at a time when we ought to be weaning ourselves off fossil fuels. We shouldn’t be subsidising an industry that is extracting the dregs of the fossil fuel age but investing more in clean renewable technologies.”

The risks of fracking have hardly been out of the news during the past few months. The protests in Balcombe in Sussex are now being repeated at Barton Moss in Salford as I-Gas prepares for exploratory drilling.

In September Lord Stern, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics, hit the headlines when he criticised the government for encouraging a rush into fracking without a thorough analysis of its ramifications .

He said, “I do think it’s a bit odd to say you know that it will bring the price of gas down. That doesn’t look like sound economics to me. It’s baseless economics.”

Just last week Lord Browne, the CEO of Cuadrilla (the company drilling in Balcombe and Lancashire), conceded that fracking will not reduce gas bills.

Meanwhile the Chief Scientific advisor in the Department for Energy and Climate Change, David Mackay, said that shale gas development is likely to lead to an increase in global greenhouse gas emissions without an international deal on climate change.

Only last week, the water industry conceded that fracking might be impractical in many parts of the UK because of the scarcity of water supplies.

Groups opposed to fracking have demonstrated how the government’s ‘dash for gas’ strategy (which includes fracking) is economically and environmentally damaging as it reduces the UK’s energy security, threatens our climate targets and exposes the country to rises in the price of imported gas.

In May, the government’s independent advisors, the Committee on Climate Change, produced a report ‘Next Steps on Energy Market Reform’ that stated that clean energy would save households £1,600 by the 2020s.

Tim Padmore, from Kirklees Campaign Against Climate Change says, “This event was not a protest. We wanted to show councillors the public interest in this vote and provide them with information from Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace as they enter.”

“Kirklees Councillors – of all parties – should feel rightly proud of their contribution to Kirklees’ environmental record, as recognised by Environment Agency in its ‘Carbon Saver Standard’ awards last year. We fully expect that councillors with this record will join Sheffield Councillors in making this public statement about the risks of fracking.”

Notes/ references

Lord Stern’s comments on fracking http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/baseless-economics-lord-stern-on-david-camerons-claims-that-a-uk-fracking-boom-can-bring-down-price-of-gas-8796758.html

Lord Browne admits that fracking will not reduce prices http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/29/browne-fracking-not-reduce-uk-gas-prices-shale-energy-bills

Water industry warns that fracking may not be feasible in many parts of the UK http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/27/water-shortages-fracking-impractical-uk

David Mackay statement on fracking and carbon emissions https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/potential-greenhouse-gas-emissions-associated-with-shale-gas-production-and-use

Committee on Climate Change ‘Next Steps on Energy Market Reform’ http://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/next-steps-on-electricity-market-reform-23-may-2013/

Independent coverage of ‘Next Steps on Energy Market Reform’ http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/switch-to-lowcarbon-future-would-save-households-1600-8628138.html

Kirklees Council wins ‘gold’ Environment Agency award http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/its-world-kirklees-council-wins-4948246