TRAFFORD Council is standing firm on its opposition to fracking and is bringing its concerns to the attention of the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

At a council meeting at Trafford Town Hall last night, members passed a motion to reaffirm the council’s position that it is opposed to fracking until such a time it can be proven safe.

All parties agreed to this stance in November 2014.

This reaffirmation comes after the government announced that a raft of new licences have been awarded to explore for oil and gas on the mainland UK, including South Trafford.

The licence would allow for a planning application to be made by INEOS to begin exploration and if this is successful, potential commercial fracking in Altrincham, Bowdon, Broadheath, Hale and Timperley.

Trafford Green Party protestors gathered outside Trafford Town Hall last night and told The Messenger they had major concerns about the immediate and long-lasting environmental impact of the controversial process.  

Bringing the motion forward at the meeting, Cllr Denise Western said: “To date I have not seen evidence that convinces me that fracking or indeed exploratory drilling is safe.

"On the contrary, there remain a myriad of concerns and convincing scientific views surrounding this issue, all of which leave me more concerned than ever about the impact that fracking would have if it were to go ahead in Trafford.”

Cllr Western added that, although fracking is required to go through the planning process, new governmental guidance could see local authorities stripped of decision making powers and be bypassed.

Cllr Jane Brophy said: "Shale gas is not the solution to our energy challenges. We need a 21st century energy revolution based on efficiency and renewables, not more fossil fuels that will add to climate change."

Concerns about potential water contamination and air pollution were raised by Cllr Catherine Hynes, who said that the government was ‘out of step’ with other European countries, such as Belgium and France, who have banned the process.

“Our previous position was clear and this came as a bolt out of the blue,” said Cllr Andrew Western. “The burden of proof should be on the frackers, it should not be on the people who are saying it’s not safe. It must be proven safe before it goes ahead.”

As well as reaffirming the council’s opposition to fracking, it was agreed that the council would write to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and to the Oil and Gas Authority directly, outlining concerns and ask that the decision to award this licence be reconsidered.

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