Coun­cil to strengthen its anti-frack­ing stance

Rochdale Observer - - PLANS IN THE PIPELINE -

ALL Greater Manch­ester’s town halls – in­clud­ing Rochdale – are to op­pose any bid to start frack­ing in the re­gion amid safety and en­vi­ron­men­tal fears.

Un­der plans un­veiled on Mon­day, the coun­cil is set to write into its plan­ning poli­cies a ‘pre­sump­tion’ against any re­quest to drill for shale gas.

While com­pa­nies could still take any re­jec­tion to ap­peal, lead­ers hope the lat­est move will strengthen their le­gal ar­gu­ment and de­ter plans from be­ing sub­mit­ted in the first place.

Now the re­gion’s mayor, Andy Burn­ham, says he wants to send a mes­sage to any firms con­sid­er­ing en­ter­ing a full ap­pli­ca­tion to frack.

“This is quite a rad­i­cal pol­icy, mak­ing quite a big state­ment,” he said.

“It’s a firm po­si­tion on be­half of the 10 bor­oughs and Greater Manch­ester as a whole, where we have large num­bers of po­ten­tial sites. I think that’s quite sig­nif­i­cant when we have the is­sue with Lan­cashire.”

Frack­ing in Lan­cashire hit the head­lines in Oc­to­ber af­ter drilling be­gan near Pre­ston.

Just 11 days af­ter drilling be­gan, ac­tiv­ity was sus­pended fol­low­ing an earth tre­mor. Frack­ing had also been sus­pended near Poul­ton-le-Fylde in 2011 for sim­i­lar rea­sons.

While frack­ing has not yet taken place in Greater Manch­ester, ex­ploratory drilling has taken place at Bar­ton Moss in Sal­ford – prompt­ing wide­spread protests.

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