Bill persuades party to change track on fracking

An anti-fracking protest outside the  public inquiry
An anti-fracking protest outside the public inquiry
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A political party has changed its national policy on fracking - following a plea by a Lancashire councillor.

County Coun Bill Winlow, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Lancashire County Council, persuaded his party’s national spring conference to back an outright ban on fracking.

County Coun Bill Winlow

County Coun Bill Winlow

Now the party is calling on the Government to outlaw fracking in England and adopt a greener energy policy by supporting renewable energy production.

Coun Winlow’s motion was won by a 3: 1 majority and afterwards he said “By now we should have had an industry specific regulator for hydraulic fracturing with assurance that local planning control would be maintained. But there is no adequate regulatory control in sight.”

During the 55 minute debate he argued the Government should be condemned for its ”assault on Britain’s green industries” which could help Britain meet its climate change targets and provide jobs, exports and prosperity.

He said: “The Paris agreement to avoid dangerous climate change was made on 15th December 2015. But two days later our government granted site licenses for oil and gas exploration – 75% for fracking, most, but not all of which, are in the north of England....At the last General Election we fought on a platform of cautious support for fracking, but only if it was subject to strict regulation, but that has not been delivered.”

He said he now feared “fracking can be forced upon us against local opinion and often against advice from our public health colleagues.”

The vote came as the current public inquiry into Cuadrilla’s two bids to test frack at Roseacre and Preston New Road in Lancashire is drawing to its close.