Bury Council to have ‘Fracking’ and ‘Wind Power’ Debate

Hydraulic Fracturing Gas Drilling

Hydraulic Fracturing Gas Drilling

There has been a great deal of discussion locally in Ramsbottom about ‘fracking’.

Bury Council have announced that there will be a debate at the Council meeting on Wednesday 13 July 2016 about ‘fracking’ and whether the Council should promote other renewable energy such as wind power.

As your local elected representatives, we want to give local people the chance to air their views about these controversial techniques (fracking and wind turbines) so that we can properly represent your views at the Council meeting.

Fracking – or hydraulic fracturing – for shale gas has been hailed by some as having the potential to create lots of new jobs and reducing energy costs by unlocking millions of tons of shale gas lying underneath parts of the UK, including Lancashire.

However concerns have been raised about the possible effect it could have on the environment and water supply. Each fracking well would also create extra traffic.

We have been contacted by lots of people who are concerned about possible fracking in and around Ramsbottom who are worried about the effect it could have on our local environment and water supply.

Although there are no immediate plans for fracking in our area – we are interested in hearing your views about it so we can properly represent everyone in Ramsbottom, Holcombe, Shuttleworth and Hawkshaw on this important issue.

We know that some will have the view that it is totally wrong. Others may think it is right that fracking is explored as a future energy source – provided it is in the right place and with public support.

Drilling companies say huge untapped reserves of gas could be extracted by fracking, particularly across northern England.

The Government tell us that increased energy supply should result in lower prices and security and control over our own supply of energy. Combined with the use of nuclear, wind and solar power it could provide us with our energy needs for years to come. They also say that they are creating a regulatory regime that provides protection for the environment. They say that the most affected areas should receive some of the financial benefit including getting £100,000 for each test well and 1% of revenues.

The recent round of shale gas exploration licences has been issued and includes our area (licences SD71 and SD81 – Hutton Energy PLC and Coronation (Oil and Gas) Ltd), although Hutton Energy say that there are no plans locally until a habitats assessment consultation is undertaken and that they do not expect any wells to be considered until at least 2018/19 at which point they will work closely with local communities during the planning application stages.

Scout Moor Wind Farm

Scout Moor Wind Farm

Wind Power has also been controversial locally recently, and many Ramsbottom residents have opposed the expansion of the Scout Moor Wind Farm.

The proposal to be put forward at the Council meeting is that:

  1. Bury Council will not allow any exploratory drilling, fracking or coal-bed extraction on land it owns or controls.
  2. Whilst the Council is unable to introduce planning policies seeking a presumption against fracking, the Council will ensure that there is rigorous criteria for assessing planning applications for the exploration or extraction of shale gas.
  3. Bury Council will consult with local communities on any planning applications related to fracking received for their area.
  4. Bury Council aims to take steps to work to harness renewable energy resources available locally such as wind and river weirs and aims to work towards becoming fossil-free by 2025

Give us your views here: