The petitions, which had 307 signatories in Batley and Spen, 754 in Colne Valley, 426 in Dewsbury and 436 in Huddersfield, have received the support of three of our four MPs – Tracy Brabin, Paula Sherriff and Thelma Walker – who have all confirmed their clear opposition to fracking and the government’s fast-track fracking proposals.
The government has proposed to classify exploratory shale drilling as “permitted development”, a planning category originally designed for sheds and minor home improvements. If changes went ahead, fracking companies could start drilling across large parts of England without the requirement to apply for planning permission.
The government’s plans have encountered widespread cross-party opposition. Many local councils have passed motions against the proposals, and at least 20 Conservative MPs have threatened to rebel if the government tries to push them through parliament.
Chayley Collis from Huddersfield Friends of the Earth said: “We’ve seen a groundswell of local opposition to the government’s reckless plans to fast-track fracking. If the government gets its way, fracking companies could drill at will –without even needing to apply to the council for planning permission. This would trample over our local democracy and threatens to industrialise the English countryside.”
Fracking is a way of extracting gas or oil that is trapped inside rocks. A mixture of water, sand and chemicals is pumped down a well at very high pressure to shatter the rocks and force out fossil fuels. Fracking has already been stopped in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland –as well as Ireland, France and the Netherlands.
Hugh Goulbourne, Secretary of the West Yorkshire Branch of SERA Labour’s Environment Campaign, said: “We’re facing a climate emergency. Instead of making it easier for fracking companies to drill in search of fossil fuels, we need to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy”.
To find out more about campaigns to keep Kirklees and Yorkshire frack-free and how to get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org