Planning and Housing

07.01.19

Greater Manchester councils to ban fracking as Burnham makes ‘radical’ statement

Leaders of the 10 local authorities in Greater Manchester have set out plans to ban the practice the fracking across the region.

Greater Manchester will effectively stop companies from extracting underground shale gas in the region, although firms will be able to appeal rejected applications.

The councils that make up Greater Manchester will be putting planning measures in place to create a “presumption” against fracking for shale gas, as Andy Burnham says the region intends to become carbon neutral by 2038.

The region’s mayor says it is “quite a radical policy, making quite a big statement,” which follows several suspensions in fracking activity last month at a site in Lancashire after over 50 tremors and a small earthquake were recorded.

Fracking only restarted at the site for the first time in seven years in October after campaigners lost a legal challenge against Lancashire County Council, giving drilling firm Cuadrilla the go-ahead to begin shale gas exploration once again.

Speaking to Manchester Evening News, Burnham said: “It's a firm position on behalf of the 10 boroughs and Greater Manchester as a whole, where we have large numbers of potential sites.

“I think that's quite significant when we have the issue with Lancashire.

“It's hard to know what damage is being done and the effect that is having on groundwater and all of those other issues that emerge.”

Greater Manchester’s announcement comes as London finalises a similar scheme, with bans on fracking already in place in Scotland and Wales and a moratorium in place in Northern Ireland.

But the UK Government still fully supports shale gas exploration, and whilst Greater Manchester has only seen exploratory test drilling so far, a number of government licenses have already been handed out.

Campaigners have praised the announcement and Jeremy Corbyn has also tweeted his support of the ban.

Image credit - Metaphortography

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