‘The Infrastructure Bill’ that is currently going through the House of Commons is grabbing power from local planning committees, to ensure that central government can decide, where and when all major infrastructure developments (airport runways, major road developments, nuclear power stations, railway lines, Fracking Pads etc.) take place.
It is well known that these developments are likely to be unpopular, and rather than risk an unpredictable outcome from the democratic process, all parties are going to push this bill through Parliament so that central government can bypass having to consult with the people who will live with its decisions.
We will have no say as to whether or not a borehole can be driven under our homes, or a fracking pad built for high volume fracking (to be commercially viable there has to be a minimum number of boreholes) next door, or for that matter, where the dual carriage motorways required to carry the waste materials and the fresh water needed to extract the gas, will be built.
In future, all major local planning decisions will be made by the Secretary of State (currently the Rt Hon Eric Pickles Con MP), and appointed advisors, or whoever it may be after the May elections.
There has been no serious public debate or analysis over the fracking issue, (despite the sale of licenses and the setting up of a course at Blackpool and the Fylde College), it is being presented to us, by the major parties as a, ‘fait accompli’.
All this despite the template for a safe fracking operation, (Forest of Bowland) having been sited in a site of outstanding natural beauty, causing an earthquake, being within 30 miles of a nuclear power station and not observing the safety regulations stipulated by the government and the second site at Balcombe, being sited within spitting distance of the busiest and most beautiful viaduct in country.
Cllr Amanda Dean
Lewes Town and District