Preston New Road Action Group say they are devastated that Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, has upheld the appeals in favour of Cuadrilla, and overruled local democracy.
Undeterred, the Group say they will fight on. There is a protest tomorrow, 8th October, at Maple Farm forecourt – Preston New Road, Lancashire (between Blackpool & Preston – alongside World of Water). People are going from Calder Valley.
“The oven gloves are off.”
On hearing the news that the Tory government was putting corporate interests above local democracy, Tina Rothery posted on facebook:
“Sadly we have folded our pretty yellow tabards, our bright happy headscarves and closed this chapter…tea, cake and democracy failed us today.”
This corruption of government by bowing to corporate rather than the public interest is not just happening in the Ministry of Local Government and Lands – it is happening in the Department of Health and its quangos NHS England and NHS Improvement, where the promotion of Sustainability and Transformation Plans is destroying our NHS through a secretive, undemocratic acceleration of cuts and privatisation.
Just as the Tory government is riddled by MPs with vested interests in private health and pharmaceutical companies, so it is riddled by MPs, advisors and donors with vested interests in fracking companies.
Westby Parish Council, Fylde Borough Council and Lancashire County Council planning committee all said no to Cuadrilla’s planning applications. For good reasons based on facts and knowledge, they rejected these sites as totally unsuitable.
Over 100,000 people objected to fracking here: unprecedented numbers of the community said no. Due democratic process has been followed but the local community will feel ignored and overruled by this decision. Effectively, an external corporate industry is controlling local democratic planning decisions.
Pat Davies, Chair of Preston New Road Action Group stated:
“There is no social license to proceed with fracking in Lancashire.
“It is deplorable that an industry which has been rejected on every level seems to believe it is acceptable to inflict itself on an unwilling county.
“That is neither right, nor fair and not least, it is wholly undemocratic.
“The ramifications of overturning local planning decisions are huge and stretch way beyond the fracking argument. Ordinary people are appalled that we are governed by people who say one thing and do another. The callous disregard for local planning raises questions about whether local planning has any real purpose now. This government has changed and introduced laws to facilitate the shale gas industry at every opportunity and yet it still hasn’t gained acceptance from communities.
“Dismantling the democratic process to facilitate a dirty fossil fuel industry when only months ago the UK committed to climate change targets in Paris is another example of saying one thing and doing another.
“We repose trust in our government to do the right thing and listen to the people it governs: that is democracy in action. This is a sad day as it is clear to all that this government neither listens nor can it be trusted to do the right thing for local communities.
“Profit clearly comes before people. The precautionary principle enshrined in planning has not been applied here.
“This decision will be scrutinised by many, not just the people of Lancashire and this travesty of justice will not be accepted. This is not the end. We will challenge this.”