The Green Party is this week launching a petition demanding that Northumberland County Council refuses all applications for fracking.
Rachael Roberts, the Greens’ parliamentary candidate for the Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency, wants the council to make an absolute commitment to block fracking in the county.
Ms Roberts said: “All proposals for fossil-fuel extraction in Northumberland, whether by fracking for gas, drilling for oil, or en-cast mining for coal, are fundamentally keeping us tied to 19th-century technology – the county council has already recognised that Northumberland has potential to become a world leader in renewable energy and it is in this clean technology of the future that our investment must be made, not in the polluting technology of the past.”
In 2014, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) invited bids under their 14th licensing round, from companies wishing to explore for onshore oil and gas across much of Northumberland.
Licenses up for grabs include those permitting exploratory drilling under Amble and Rothbury, and between those two towns. The results of that licensing round have not been announced and now seem unlikely to be released until after the forthcoming General Election. Information on this, and on other licensing rounds, can be found at the www.gov.uk website.
Rachael believes it essential that the county’s opposition to these ‘dangerous and unproven practices’ be made clear from the outset.
She said: “Fracking contaminates ground water supplies, where it risks introducing toxic chemicals, carcinogenic hydrocarbons and radioactive matter into the natural food chain. The biodiversity that is already stressed from pollution, pesticides and climate change will be under threat: This is a risk that no responsible council should ever consider taking.”
The petition is available to sign on line at committees.northumberland.gov.uk.