Liberal Democrat motion: York opposes fracking

Proposed by: Cllr Tony Fisher

This Council notes that:

  • On 8 September, the Prime Minister announced plans to lift the ban on fracking for shale gas, breaking Conservative party's 2019 manifesto pledge to not press ahead with fracking without further scientific study.
  • INEOS holds Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences (PEDL) for areas in and around York and Ryedale.
  • Companies such as INEOS and Cuadrilla could seek permission to frack in areas where they hold PEDL licences.
  • In 2018 City of York Councillors opposed fracking, outlining the Council’s objections to fracking through ‘permitted development’ rights.
  • extracting new fossil fuels distracts from investing in renewable projects and decarbonising heating systems
  • Fracking could put communities at risk of micro-earthquakes, ground water contamination, loss of species and many other health and environmental hazards.
  • There is a lack of evidence that fracking in the UK would lower bills for consumers. It has not done so in the USA.
  • Earlier this February, after more than seven years of work, councillors approved the Minerals and Waste Joint Plan which introduced controls on fracking in York and North Yorkshire if the government lifted the moratorium. The plan will be used to decide planning applications until 2030, with minimum distances between homes and well pads and for greater controls around protected areas. Council believes that:
  • Fracking poses unacceptable risks to people, livestock, wildlife, the climate and the environment, bringing with it the potential threat of earthquakes, water pollution, and green spaces transforming into industrial landscapes.
  • With soaring energy bills and inflation overwhelmingly being driven by record-high gas prices – and with renewables four times cheaper – fracking is not the answer. Other sources of energy, including renewable, and ‘buffers’ such as battery storage, liquid air and hydrogen, are fast making any plans to introduce fracking irrelevant.
  • The UK has a vast potential for clean energy. Investment in renewable energy, public transport and energy efficiency will create far more jobs than fracking, deliver energy security, boost York’s local economy and allow us to play our part in avoiding dangerous climate change.
  • This announcement seriously calls into question the government’s commitment to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels and to move to net zero emissions by 2050.

This Council resolves to:

  • Ask the CEO to write on behalf of the Council to the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Minister for State (Minister for Climate) to make them aware of the opposition to fracking in York, in light of the Government’s statement that it will only progress with fracking where there is local support.