Frack-Free Councils

The following English councils (that I know of) have made formal or informal declarations that they are against fracking, or otherwise expressed concern.

Newcastle City Council
On 3rd Sept passed a motion proposed by Councillor Chris Bartlett (Labour) noting (inter alia) that “leaks of methane from fracking wells could have serious implications for global warming” and resolving (inter alia) to “express its opposition to fracking, and express its belief that the energy resources represented by shale gas should be left in the ground.” Motion also mentions Sheffield’s own motion (see below) and expresses support and appreciation.

Bath and North East Somerset
Expressed concerns about noxious chemicals getting into the famous springs. B&NES Council leader Councillor Paul Crossley (Lib Dem, Southdown) said: “Whilst the council is yet to assess the full detail of the Government’s proposal, our prime concern remains retaining the integrity of the natural hot springs. … We have obtained the very best expert advice on this matter and there is little to suggest otherwise than there is a potential for damage to the deep water sources that supply the springs in Bath.” Story from the Bath Chronicle. January 16, 2014

Brent council
Leader of Brent Council Mohammed Butt: “I will do everything legally within my power to address the concerns of residents and keep Brent a frack-free zone … Councils have significant and widespread powers which allow us to stand up for the rights of residents. I am determined to use these powers to help reassure people that fracking in Brent will always be a non-starter.”
Story in Brent and Kilburn Times. Super-nuanced and pro-environmental comment from the Telegraph. November 1, 2013

Brighton and Hove
The council passed a motion that Brighton and Hove declare itself a “no fracking zone”, and the Policy and Resources Committee approved it. “Although not legally binding, the agreement provides a framework position which could be used by the local authority to make representations about any fracking plans for the area.” This is the text of the committee’s recommendation. And the wider story in The Argus. January 27, 2013. [I think this is the first Council anti-fracking motion]

Council leader Rob Ferguson rejected Cameron’s offer to let local authorities would be able to keep 100 per cent of business rates from companies engaged in hydraulic drilling. The Bristol Post quotes him saying: “I have consistently said that Bristol as an urban area is inappropriate for fracking and that I would be strongly resistant to any exploration within the city boundary.” Greeen Councillor Rob Telford tabled a motion opposing fracking but as yet it has not been debated. January 14, 2014

Cheshire East
Council Leader Jones said: “Fracking may well be a useful technology for other areas and good luck to them if it is, however the people of Cheshire East have our assurance that there won’t be any in our borough.” Cheshire East is a Conservative-run council, in Chancellor George Osborne’s own constituency. January 15, 2014. Report from the Crewe Chronicle.

Cheshire West and Chester
Cllr Mike Jones “wouldn’t be minded to support” fracking in the area unless cash benefits for communities were increased and more done to demonstrate the safety of the process. Report in the Telegraph. January 15, 2014 [But see critical comment below]

Deal Town Council
Passed a motion stating: “Deal Town Council supports the campaign both by neighbouring parish councils and local action groups to resist any moves to allow fracking in East Kent. This council places on record its opposition to fracking on environmental, health as well as economic grounds.” The motion was passed with one abstention and only one councillor voting against. November 26, 2013

Dover District Council
Passed a motion stating: “This Council is concerned by the prospect of fracking and related drilling activity in the Dover District area and requests that a report is brought forward to the next meeting of this Council to inform the Council of the nature of the process, the potential impact on subsurface water resources and geological formations, the type and scale of the surface structures, and the impact of anti-fracking demonstrations in the light of recent experience in Sussex on the local communities and on the police.” Read this excellent statement from East Kent Against Fracking. November 27, 2013

East Sussex
Tory-led Council passed anti-fracking motion on 27th March 2012.

Glastonbury Town Council
Meeting 12 February 2013 [opens as Word doc] notes “That this Council resolves not to support Fracking in the Mendip Area or throughout Great Britain.”  Councillor Jon Cousins (Green Party) remarked: “Hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ is a major issue, and I am proud that Glastonbury Town Council has voted against fracking in the Mendips – and anywhere else. I seconded this motion, that was proposed by my fellow St. Edmund’s Ward Councillor Nick Cottle. It was not, however, a unanimous decision… who in their right mind would oppose the motion?”

Hampshire County Council
Leader of Hampshire County Council Roy Perry said: “While I welcome any source of revenue for local people to benefit local development, I firmly believe any (fracking) application would have to be judged on its merit. … I don’t think we should be bought off. … I am sure there are some places where it can be undertaken with minimal impact on the environment and so it has to be considered, but if there were to be environment damage as a result of fracking, then we would have to put the environment first.”
Story in the Portsmouth News. January 13, 2014

Kirklees Council
Residents submitted a motion in December 2013 but time ran out before it could be discussed. The motion was considered on January 15, 2014. Local residents attended meeting: they “outlined the main reasons for opposing fracking, particularly the risks of ground water contamination and the increasing use of fossil fuels driving climate change. They explained the ways in which the government’s gas strategy is flawed: it will be unlikely to reduce bills, reduce our carbon footprint or increase our energy security.” Motion passed 41-21.
Full information from Kirkless Campaign Against Climate Change. Excellent report includes link to the text of the council motion.

In its motion “CC/12/72 Motion – Making Manchester more Sustainable“, passed on 11 July 2012, Manchester declared itself a Fracking-Free Zone.

Mendip District Council
Anti-fracking motion was unanimously passed on Monday 30th September 2013. It registers opposition to DECC and ministers, and establishes a cross-party working group to determine impacts & ways of opposing fracking.

On 13 December 2012 declared itself Frack-free, began working with other local authorities to oppose fracking, and brought about a temporary ban until a scrutiny panel has reported back.

Green Councillors proposed a motion which was backed by Labour, and then amended by Labour councillors to make it even stronger. Read the Green Councillors’ motion here. Labour amendment added an extra phrase: “In practice, the council has little power to stop companies getting planning permission to drill in the Sheffield Region, but we can send a clear message that they are not welcome. And we can join the campaign calling on politicians at national level to oppose fracking.” September 5, 2013

Waltham Forest Council
Deputy leader and cabinet member for environment, Cllr Clyde Loakes: “In Waltham Forest we have no intention of allowing fracking. Regardless of what financial benefits might be on offer, we will not compromise the safety and wellbeing of our current or future residents.” January 15, 2014
Story from This is Local London [Link to council web page broken, but text reads in part: “Financial incentives from central Government for local Councils to nod through permission for shale gas exploration in their boroughs have been rejected by Waltham Forest Council.”

Westhoughton Town Council
IN August 2014, passed a motion opposing fracking. The motion stated: “We strongly believe we should be listening to the views of local people and the evidence in relation to health and safety and that our duty as a council is to protect the health and well-being of our residents and oppose fracking and coal bed extraction of methane gas in Westhoughton.”

Passed motion (unanimously) opposing fracking, calling for a report & study on economic impacts & effects on efforts to become leader in low-carbon technology.


8 thoughts on “Frack-Free Councils”

  1. Cheshire East is in that list, they did say that they would always remain frack free – taking the credit for making a decision but not explaining that the real reason they will remain frack free is because there is no shale or deep coal seam in Cheshire East

    Cheshire West and Cheshire is also in that list, based on one quote taken out of context by our extremely pro-fracking council leader. How CWaC can be on a list of Frack Free Councils, I do not know when we are absolutely swamped here with activity from both dart and Igas, who are about to start drilling in the county in the next few weeks, into the shale and producing CBM

  2. I have proposed the following motion to Canterbury City Council. It will be debated on 27/11/14
    “This Council is opposed in principle to hydraulic fracking and all forms of unconventional gas and oil exploration and development in the Canterbury District, particularly on its own land. As landowner we will not allow such exploration and development on our land, although we would consider all planning applications on the planning merits of each. We support renewable energy sources such as solar, tide and wind.”

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Helping to keep the north-east un-fracked

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