Yes, people are angry: the whole issue just makes a mockery of democracy

This post is essentially the content of a letter that I wrote which Sheffield Telegraph went onto publish on Thursday 15th November. It was agreed that I’d post this here to help draw attention to the current situation in Woodsetts….

In the Telegraph of October 18th (2018), South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings said that £1 million has been set aside to deal with anti-fracking protesters in the area. Your article quotes Dr Billings as saying ‘… we know the anti-fracking feeling is very strong and that probably all the publicly elected people will be opposed to it’. Dr Billings seems on the money (pun intended) with this one to me. So why are so many people protesting? Lord Browne, the chairman of Cuadrilla said back in 2013 that fracking ‘is not going to have a material impact on (energy) price’. Scottish Power is on target to have all its energy produced by wind farms by the end of this calendar year, so we don’t need fracking to ‘keep the lights on’. The recent IPCC report has said we only have 12 years to keep global warming at 1.5C. Several leading scientists have expressed deep concern on levels of radiation and chemically-treated water that could escape from fracking wells.

Only 18% of people surveyed in August said they were ‘in support of fracking’ on a poll organised by BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy). Fracking has being banned in 6 countries around the world including France and Ireland. 6 unions publicly opposed fracking, as do two political parties. Despite all this, the current government have gone ahead with the proposal of ‘Permitted Development’ being used to assess further applications for fracking. ‘Permitted Development’ was only supposed to be for personal home and garden extensions, not for massive industries to steam ahead without local planning applications. This allows it to be even more likely local people with grave concerns will be ignored and overlooked. But then should we be surprised that the government are even listening to the public anymore? The whole issue makes a mockery of democracy. Yes, people are angry.

Ineos Shale are pressing on with their drilling application in Woodsetts despite more than 90% disapproval in Woodsetts community and two planning refusals from the Borough Council. The community is fighting back and Woodsetts Against Fracking (WAF) has set up a ‘crowd justice’ page to raise more funds for legal fees. To read more and donate, please click on the link here and feel free to share via email and social media.