‘There’s enough problems in the Vale already’: Politicians clash over controversial fracking as trust is put in county council

The Cuadrilla Gas site near Singleton, Lancashire, which is allowed to resume fracking-related activities
The Cuadrilla Gas site near Singleton, Lancashire, which is allowed to resume fracking-related activities

Politicians have clashed over the next steps to take on the potential arrival of a controversial gas extraction process in the Vale – fracking.

Labour leader Robin Stuchbury’s motion for the district council to be fully represented in the fracking licence-granting process amid fears the Government would bypass local councils in planning was rejected.

A 30-square-mile radius focused around Calvert is one area thought to be under consideration by the Government for use as a shale gas reserve.

Controversy surrounds fracking as it can be blamed for causing small earthquakes. Drilling was halted near Blackpool in 2011 as a result.

Mr Stuchbury said: “There’s enough problems in the Vale already. This is our children’s future we are talking about here.

“There’s been no environmental impact study. The fact is there’s little knowledge and has been no consultation.

“This motion costs nothing but the result of this could end up costing something.”

The council took the decision to trust Bucks County Council to continue to represent their views in government consultation which is expected to last another 16 to 18 months.

Cabinet member for strategic planning, Carole Paternoster, said she had discussed the issue with her counterpart at county, Peter Hardy, and dismissed fears that any planning and licencing applications have been made as ‘rumours’.

The result means that the district council can only offer a view on potential fracking sites.