Newcastle City Council comes out against Fracking

Newcastle City Council has passed a strongly worded motion condemning fracking. Text below. Official record of the motion is on the agenda paper.

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Motion passed by Newcastle City Council Wednesday 3rd September [Proposed by Councillor Chris Bartlett]

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This council notes:

 

  • that the Queen’s Speech set out Government plans to modify the trespass laws to give fracking companies rights to drill under private property without permission;
  • a Greenpeace/YouGov poll which found that three-quarters of the public oppose the change in the trespass law;
  • that research conducted at Nottingham University finds that public support for fracking is falling;
  • that the North-East is marked as an area ‘under consideration’ for licensing for shale gas exploitation, and notes the comments by Lord Howell that “there’s plenty of room for fracking” in the “uninhabited and desolate areas” of the North-East, although it also notes that geology and existing coal mine workings mean that the Newcastle area is unlikely to be a site for fracking;
  • that a recent DECC analysis concludes that the likely effect of the UK increasingly switching to methane would be to shift carbon emissions overseas, so that an expansion of fracking in the UK would contribute to a global increase of greenhouse gases, and also notes that leaks of methane from fracking wells could have serious implications for global warming;
  • the council recalls with pride the industrial, cultural and social heritage of coal-mining in the North-East, and recognises that in comparison with this the social and economic benefits of fracking for the region would be negligible at best, as the Government’s own research shows.

 

This council resolves to:

 

  • express its opposition to fracking, and express its belief that the energy resources represented by shale gas should be left in the ground;
  • reaffirm its support for the Council’s strategy Creating a Greener Newcastle and reaffirm its commitment to pursue policies of energy efficiency and support for renewables, with the aim of protecting the most vulnerable people in our city;
  • express its support for Sheffield council’s motion in opposition to fracking, and to other UK councils which have made similar statements
  • develop a planning policy on shale gas fracking, taking account of the views expressed in this motion and all relevant planning considerations
  • write to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to express our opposition to fracking.
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