Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden has called upon the fracking planning inquiry to respect the decision of Lancashire County Council and local people in Lancashire, and reject Cuadrilla’s plans for fracking on the Fylde.
Mr Marsden, who said he strongly opposed the applications from Cuadrilla to extract shale gas at both Little Plumpton and Roseacre, said it would be a “huge rejection” of local accountability and make a mockery of the Government’s claims to be delivering devolution to regions like the North West, if minister Greg Clark overruled the local decision made last June by Lancashire County Council.
He said: “The widespread concerns about safety, impact on the countryside, people’s environment and our local tourism – these are all worries, which large numbers of people in Blackpool, on the Fylde and across Lancashire have expressed.
“That’s why Lancashire County Council leader, Councillor Jennifer Mein was absolutely right to send a letter last week to Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Local Government, pointing out how damaging to local democracy it would be for him to overrule the democratic wish of the people of Lancashire.”
At Prime Minister’s Question Time last year, Mr Marsden highlighted the ‘double standards’ of the Tory Government in respecting the views of local people on wind farms, but ignoring their concerns on shale gas. He said: “For a Government that claims to champion localism, it is unfair and double standards to give communities a say on wind farms but not on fracking.
Real community power means the ability to influence final decisions, not to just simply play a token role in the intervening process.”
The potential for huge disruption, public protest and the impact of seeing a fracking rig will be disastrous for both our residents and visitors
Mr Marsden, who joined his Labour colleague, Cat Smith, the MP for Lancaster in Fleetwood in opposing plans to allow fracking in national parks, said fracking supporters needed to get a “reality check” about the potential risks to Blackpool and the damage it would have to both seaside and rural tourism.
He explained: “The potential for huge disruption, public protest and the impact of seeing a fracking rig will be disastrous for both our residents and visitors.
“This is an issue for us in terms of potential negatives for the town’s image with tourism, as well as environmental and other concerns.”