In the forthcoming local elections, one of the most important and controversial issues, ought to be what attitude prospective local councillors take toward unconventional gas development and fracking.
Yet, in contradiction to the democratic process, the main parties refuse to debate it.
Why? Because if elected and subsequently appointed to planning committees then to have previously spoken out against fracking could be taken as evidence of pre-determining decisions on gas field development-related applications.
Thus, following their election, if they decided to turn down applications their prior expression of anti-fracking views could be used in legal action by the fracking companies.
The irony is anyone following recent decisions in Nottinghamshire in my opinion can see most local councillors are only too willing to give planning permission for the fracking companies.
They follow advice from planning officials because that is what they are required to do by national government policy obliging them to give “great weight” to develop more fossil fuels.
Further to that, we also know from Lancashire that if future councillors were to have more backbone and refused permission the government would overrule them anyway.
Whichever way the anti-fracking movement turns, I feel the system is rigged against us.
In areas of development, I feel the public are overwhelmingly opposed but the the political parties run away from discussing the issue so we cannot even discuss it with parties during an election.