There is so much happening right now both locally and nationally!
Locally, the planning appeal has been validated as being a Written appeal. As the Shropshire Star reported recently, that would deny local people the opportunity to participate face-to-face. For an industry that has declared its desire to improve their engagement with the local people, this would be a poor choice of direction. The Government’s guidelines are that all appeals that have generated appreciable local interest must be held as a Hearing or an Inquiry so we are hoping that the decision can be revisited. More news on this when we have it.
Also of local interest is the fact that the Council’s planners are asking the Councillors to reaffirm their decision to say that they were minded to reject the application. This will be at a regular planning meeting at 2pm on Tuesday 17th February in Shirehall. There are strong reasons for believing that Dart’s appeal will be unsuccessful and therefore we are optimistic that the Councillors will hold strong. Supporters are welcome to join us at the meeting.
Looking further afield, there is another crucial vote on the Infrastructure Bill coming up. Last time, Labour inserted 13 amendments into the bill when it went through the Commons and stated that if the amendments weren’t included in full, then they would vote for a moratorium on fracking. The amendments were duly included for the Commons vote so there was no moratorium. Amazingly the government then significantly reworded the amendments before the bill went to the House of Lords yesterday (Monday 9th Feb). Because the bill has been altered since it passed through the Commons, it has to go for another Commons vote, which is happening tomorrow (Wednesday 11th Feb). If Labour are true to their word then it will result in a moratorium on all unconventional gas extraction.
Labour either come out of this looking good, or looking like they don’t have the courage to follow through on their promises!
Also on Wednesday 11th there is an interesting programme on BBC3 at 9pm that has been made in response to a campaign to stop MPs getting away with lying. The relevance to us is that there have been false statements made about unconventional gas lowering UK energy bills. Despite industry experts saying that this is not true, some people still believe the false statements.
Thank you again for your continued support. Please do reply to this email if you have any questions and we will answer as soon as we are able.