1,000 signatures reached
To: Eric Pickles (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government)
Give communities power to block fracking projects
Dear Mr Pickles, please ensure that any new planning guidance gives communities at least equal power to block fracking projects as you're proposing for windfarms
Why is this important?
Eric Pickles recently announced his intention to introduce new planning guidance allowing communities to block windfarms (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2013/jun/06/wind-farms-shale-gas-fracking-energy).
While any move to increase local democracy should be welcomed, it appears the government has no intention of granting similar powers to communities threatened with fracking projects.
Fracking – the process of extracting gas from rock such as shale – is highly disruptive to nearby communities, poses a very significant threat to groundwater and human and animal health, is extremely energy-intensive and has huge implications for climate change. Furthermore, even optimistic estimates suggest the UK has only enough shale gas to keep the country going for a few years.
Whatever your views on fracking or windfarms, there can be no conceivable justification for allowing communities to block windfarms – which generate clean, infinitely renewable energy far into the future – but not fracking projects. If anything, communities should have greater powers to block fossil fuel projects than renewables, given that we’re edging ever closer to the point at which climate change becomes irreversible and entirely out of our control.
Alas, this is another clear example of the present government’s relentless pursuit of gas, and its ambivalence towards renewable energy; the announcement has come just days after the government voted against introducing stringent new targets to decarbonise our electricity supply by 2030. The recent revelation that a third of government ministers have strong links with the fossil fuel industry and the finance sector that bankrolls it (http://www.wdm.org.uk/climate-change/one-third-uk-government-ministers-linked-uk-companies-fuelling-climate-change) may begin to explain their refusal to place any barrier in the way of their dash-for-gas.
This is not a petition to stop communities from blocking windfarms; it is a petition calling on the government to recognise the gaping inconsistencies in any planning guidance that allows communities to block windarms – whose impacts are, after all, reversible – but not fracking projects, which, conversely, will leave an appalling legacy for our children and grandchildren of contaminated aquifers and a climate spiraling out of control.
By signing the petition you are sending the government a clear message that vested interests cannot be allowed to influence planning policy, especially when so much is at stake. Communities must be given the power to block fracking projects.