Council declare opposition to fracking, though not all convinced
PUBLISHED: 06:55 16 August 2019 | UPDATED: 07:31 16 August 2019
Clevedon Town Council has 'resolved to make the town a frack-free zone.'
A motion by councillor Nicola Barton was passed on August 7 which would see the council oppose any applications for fracking licences near the town, not invest in any companies involved in the practice and to call on North Somerset Council to do the same.
Cllr Barton cited numerous issues with the practices including its abilities to cause earthquakes and contamination of the water supply before concluding the council should follow the lead of Cleeve, Weston and Yatton and oppose fracking in their town.
However, Conservative councillor Carl Francis-Pester opposed the motion, slammed it as a political move by the Labour party, and compared the motion to people attempting to ban electricity in the 1800s.
He said: "This is a motion driven by the Labour party.
What I'm concerned about is us repeating what happened 130 years ago when councils voted to ban electricity.
"I'm not a supporter of fracking per se but we should not be afraid of changing technologies.
"The fracking industry is regulated and most of the concerns raised are not as a result of the fracking itself.
"There has been fracking in the North Sea since the 1970s."
Cllr Graham Hill who also opposed the motion said: "If there's to be fracking it will be as a necessary stop gap."
Both Cllr Barton and Labour councillor Angela Everitt, who supported the motion refuted these claims and said there were councillors from all parties who supported a fracking ban.
Cllr Everitt said: "As chair of the local Labour party I can say we have received no messages or instructions that this should be pushed as an agenda item at any town council.
"We have declared a climate emergency, and we want to promote Clevedon as a tourist destination, to allow fracking would be counter to all that hard work."
Cllr Richard Westwood added: "I'm not particularly convinced we have armageddon on our hands but I do believe we have enough gas reserves in the North Sea, and that whenever a stop gap is used the Government are known to drag their heels in coming up with solutions."
The motion was passed by nine votes to three.