Greenpeace has appealed to the UK’s transparency watchdog over the government’s refusal to publish the full version of a heavily redacted report on the impacts of fracking.
The environmental campaigners are calling on ministers to release the report in full before a crucial vote by Lancashire authorities on whether to allow shale gas firm Cuadrilla to frack in the area.
Greenpeace argues councillors should have access to all the available evidence in making a decision which is likely to have significant repercussions for communities in Lancashire and beyond.
Lancashire County Council recently passed a unanimous motion urging the government to release the report in full “in the interests of transparency”.
The redacted study, entitled Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts, is the only known government report looking at the full range of fracking’s potential side-effects, from public health to house prices and rural businesses.
Greenpeace UK energy campaigner Louise Hutchins said: “The government is acting like a judge who’s pressing the jury to take a certain verdict whilst hiding exhibit A behind his back. It makes a mockery of David Cameron’s commitment to transparency and is a slap in the face to the hundreds of thousands of people living in communities potentially affected by fracking.
“Authorities in Lancashire and elsewhere in the country are about to make crucial decisions on whether to allow this controversial industry in their area. They should be given access to all the available evidence, not have it cherry-picked for them by the government.”
Lancashire County Council will make a decision on Cuadrilla’s applications to frack at sites at Roseacre Wood and Little Plumpton, near Blackpool, by the end of April.