Sherwood folk urge MP to put local people before fracking lobby

Fracking rigs like this one are a common site in America
Fracking rigs like this one are a common site in America

Sherwood residents have delivered a petition to their MP urging him to put his community before the interests of the fracking lobby ahead of a crucial vote in the House of Commons today.

Nearly 400 local residents have emailed Mark Spencer MP encouraging him to vote against measures included in the Infrastructure Bill that will remove the right of homeowners to say no to companies fracking under their homes.

As well as weakening property rights to make way for under-house fracking, the proposed legislation coming before MPs on Monday will allow shale firms to dump ‘any substance’ underground, whilst failing to fully protect the sensitive areas that supply aquifers, the country’s sources of drinking water.

A YouGov poll from last year showed 74% of the British public - including nearly three quarters of Tory (73%) and Lib Dem (70%) voters - oppose the move to strip homeowners of their right to refuse permission to companies planning to frack under their properties.

The petition was delivered on Friday evening, ahead of a crucial vote in the Commons on controversial legislation to pave the way for fracking.

Monday’s vote on the Infrastructure Bill takes place in the wake of new peer-reviewed studies showing fracking operations can contaminate groundwater as well as releasing toxic chemicals into the air.

Ministers have recently opened up over half of Britain for fracking with the launch of the 14th onshore licensing round, and are now in the process of handing out licenses for exploratory drilling and fracking to shale firms.

The online petition was launched by environmental groups Greenpeace UK, Friends of the Earth, and 38 Degrees, after the Infrastructure Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech last year.

After delivering the petition, Rainsworth resident Bryan Norris said: “Whatever you think of fracking, stripping people of their property rights and giving energy firms a blanket licence to dump dangerous fluids underground is definitely not the way to go. And protecting a vital resource like our drinking water should be a matter of basic common sense, not something for political parties to wrangle over.

“The vote on the Infrastructure Bill will be a real test of whether our MPs have their priorities right. Which should come first, the well-being of our communities or the interests of the shale lobby? With the elections just months away, constituents will no doubt be watching and taking note.”