In the last few days we have heard that the planning decision will now definitely not be happening in September, as we were previously told. The provisional new date is 21st October but that could well change. Our local county councillor Steve Davenport is attempting to get the location of the meeting to be moved to Ellesmere to make it easier for local people to attend.
In some ways the delay is a disappointment because we all want the application to be turned down ASAP so that we can get on with our lives without the threat of drilling in the neighbourhood. On the other hand, the delay does increase the chances of the application being refused as more and more evidence is being considered. Also the position is progressively turning against the unconventional gas industry so as the general election approaches the politicians will be starting to think about making promises that appeal to the general public.
If you buy local papers then you will note that we have been keeping the profile of the campaign going. There is a trend in the articles to merge our campaign group with the parallel but separate campaign being mounted by the protectors occupying the site. We will be trying to persuade the newspapers to make the distinction clearer.
FrackFreeDudleston was set up as a democratic group representing the opinions of the majority of local people. People wanted first and foremost to fight the threat through the official channels and that process is ongoing. As well as the planning application and the promised public debate, we are also engaging with the waste extraction permit process to ensure that the flaws in that are fully exposed. It all helps.
Both us and the protectors are wanting the same final outcome and both groups represent a significant barrier to Dart being able to inflict their drilling operations on our countryside. Although we are keeping the distinction between the two groups separate, we have visited the camp and find them to be very well informed, friendly and committed. There are always people on site but the actual people there at any one time varies because they take it in turns to return to their families and jobs. If/when the application is refused then the camp will be gone within a day.
United against the drilling!
Latest news on the twitter feed is that Newcastle Council have banned fracking completely. It can be done!
Planning decision postponed