Wrexham Plaid Councillor Calls For ‘Fracking’ Ban

20/10/2014

Plaid Cymru councillors have called on all 52 fellow Wrexham members to ask them to support a motion against fracking.

Cllr Arfon Jones, who leads the Plaid Cymru group on Wrexham Council, made the call in the wake of the Welsh Government’s planning inspectorate deciding to back test drilling for Coal Bed Methane and Shale gas at Borras on the outskirts of the town.

However the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has led to mass opposition in some areas due to the danger of contaminating water sources, the risk of mini-earthquakes and other environmental damage.

He said: “Many councils in England have taken a stance on this important matter and passed motions against fracking. As Wrexham is one of many areas in Wales also facing fracking, we in Plaid Cymru feel we should make a stance and declare our opposition to the process.

“Many European countries have a ban on fracking and the Australian company involved in this test drilling, GP Energy, would not be able to carry out this work in New South Wales. Why should it be able to here in old North Wales?

Last week a controversial appeal to test drill for underground gas near Commonwood Farm, Borras was given the go-ahead, despite strong opposition from members of the public.

The planning application to drill in Borras was initially rejected by Wrexham Councillors at the start of the year, who raised concerns over environmental issues and the lack of information on the actual drilling process.

However an independent inspector overthrew the appeal, stating: “I consider the proposal would not be unsustainably located and that risks of it causing pollution, geological instability or subsidence would be negligible. The proposal would be in accordance with development plan and national policy.”

Since the announcement was made, an event titled ‘Protect Borras From Fracking Before It’s Too Late’ has since been organised for October 23rd at the Cunliffe Arms.

Cllr Jones added: “There is an active campaign locally against this, the council’s own planning committee weighed up the pros and cons and came out against it and there’s a clear feeling that the dangers outweigh any possible benefits.

“I have raised this in the Homes & Environment Scrutiny Committee some months ago and it was agreed to a workshop on fracking but we are still waiting whilst the people of this county are actively campaigning against. Without the right information, councillors cannot carry out their job properly.

“Officers are concerned about the cost of appeal decisions but the cost in terms of public safety and the environment from mini-tremors, subsidence, gas leaks and polluted water could be much higher.”

Cllr Jones, who represents Gwersyllt West, said licences to drill for unconventional gases had been granted by the UK Government to cover the whole of the Wrexham and Flintshire area. It was up to local councillors, he said, to represent local people and stand up to the multinationals seeking to drill under people’s homes without permission