Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/20023

Posted on 30 January 2015 at 17:13 GMT

Fracking in trouble, from Lancashire to Lanarkshire!

Hugh Caffrey
Banner outside the Lancashire County Council buildings in Preston on 28 January, where about 250 anti-fracking protesters assembled in protest at Cuadrilla’s planning applications for two fracking sites between Preston and Blackpool. Photo Dave Beale

Banner outside the Lancashire County Council buildings in Preston on 28 January, where about 250 anti-fracking protesters assembled in protest at Cuadrilla’s planning applications for two fracking sites between Preston and Blackpool. Photo Dave Beale

So-called 'hydraulic fracturing' is banned in numerous countries and widely opposed in Britain because of serious evidence that it is deeply unsafe. Instead of investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and as the Socialist Party advocates, doing so on the basis of democratic socialist planning, the energy industry and its financial backers want to 'frack' as widely as possible across Britain because of the apparent short-term profits on offer.

Numerous concerns have been raised about the safety of fracking, including the lack of effective regulation and the pollution from sites affecting people and the environment in a 10-15 mile radius. The pro-fracking lobby led by big businesses and their politicians is nevertheless trying to push ahead, with David Cameron even offering extra money to local councils if they grant permits for fracking.

Lancashire county council nearly became the first local authority in England to actually reject an application by a fracking company, when the council planning officers recommended not giving Cuadrilla four permits to drill across two sites because of concerns about noise and traffic. Hundreds of protesters, including Socialist Party members, demonstrated outside the council's Development Control Committee, calling for the permits to be refused and for fracking to be rejected.

Outside the Lancashire County Council buildings in Preston, 28 Jan. Photo Dave Beale

Outside the Lancashire County Council buildings in Preston, 28 Jan. Photo Dave Beale

Had Cuadrilla been turned down, it could have been a tipping point against the intended mass expansion of fracking, in a week which saw it suffer significant blows. Pressure from numerous local campaigns is finally seeping through to the mainstream politicians and the cracks are opening up. While Tories like Cameron and Osborne push for fracking with only very minor restrictions for the sake of appearances, those more fearful of the voters in specific areas, like Tory councillors in Trafford, Greater Manchester, have raised some objections to fracking.

Labour MPs are split over the issue, but as a party are clearly not opposed to fracking. By abstaining in a parliamentary vote on 26 January, Labour ensured even a very modest and insufficient proposal for a moratorium on shale gas exploration was defeated. However, shortly afterwards the Scottish National Party announced that fracking would be put on hold in Scotland until a public consultation has been held.

Decision postponed

Cuadrilla demanded a postponement of the decision in Lancashire and was granted it for at least eight weeks. Not granting the permits would have been a major blow to the fracking companies, hence the panic and veiled threats from the pro-fracking lobby in the run-up to the decision. Despite statements to the contrary, Cuadrilla is playing for time. Delays cost the fracking companies money, but they are using the time to lean on the politicians to grant the permits on the basis of "additional information".

Further delays are not impossible. The council's committee is due to meet on 8 April. While the council itself isn't up for re-election for another three years, on 7 May there are elections to other councils in Lancashire as well as the general election. Many local and national politicians will not want themselves and their parties to be seen as blatantly pro-fracking so soon before facing the electorate.

If local authorities refuse permission to drill then fracking could be swiftly defeated. When all the main parties are pro-fracking though, the question has been of exerting sufficient pressure on them and ultimately replacing them. Now, as growing political pressure coincides with the collapse in the oil price and doubts among the financial backers of fracking over the potential profits, the fracking 'industry' has never been in so weak a position.

If one local authority denies permission to frack, this will give an enormous boost to campaigns and communities demanding that other local authorities commit to refusing permits and adopt an anti-fracking policy.

Even the limited decision in Scotland will add to the pressure on politicians south of the border. If and where permits are ultimately granted, fracking can be blocked by mass protest, but this also underscores the need to elect anti-fracking candidates at May's elections committed to building the necessary mass movement to stop fracking.

We need anti-frack councillors

Every anti-fracking campaign comes up against the pro-fracking main parties. We need an alternative. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) fielded hundreds of local candidates last May and this year is standing 1,000 council candidates and 100 parliamentary candidates, all opposed to fracking.

In Salford at local elections following the Barton Moss protests in Greater Manchester, TUSC made opposition to fracking a major part of its election campaigns. Unfortunately, the Green party candidates didn't even raise the issue. Many individual Green members and candidates are committed to opposing fracking, but to defeat the frackers and their backers we need a party that everywhere is opposed to fracking and willing to build a mass movement of opposition based in communities and the trade unions.

Read more about TUSC including TUSC's national conference last weekend at www.tusc.org.uk

The Socialist Party says:


Planning for the Planet: How socialism could save the environment

This book explains why capitalism has failed to tackle global warming and other threats to the environment. The alternative of a democratically managed socialist planned economy is proposed, with which environmental problems could be solved. How such a socialist economy would work is critically examined. Order at www.leftbooks.co.uk


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 30 January 2015 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £

 

Your message: 

 






Related links:

Lancashire:

triangleLancashire Socialist Party: Britain in 2020 - what lies ahead?

triangleLancashire Socialist Party: Tories in meltdown - Demand a General Election now!

triangleVictory for Stagecoach bus strikers!

triangleLancashire Stagecoach drivers continue their fight

triangleStagecoach strike - bus workers show how it's done

Lanarkshire:

triangleHamilton posties walk out against bullying

triangleSteel: public ownership needed as private buyers threaten pay and pensions

triangleTrade unions must join fight for steel nationalisation

triangleCouncils won't spend a penny

Fracking:

triangleFracking mess

triangleClimate change protest in London on 12.4.19, photo Mary Finch

triangleToxic fracking gets the go-ahead while protesters jailed

Socialist:

triangleMick Cotter 21-9-57 to 20-5-20

triangleSocialism the Podcast: 2020 episodes

Council:

triangleCrisis in council services: Labour must fight or stand aside

Energy:

triangleEDF Energy workers furloughed on 100% pay

Environment:

triangleThe history of struggle to make the workplace safe

Green:

triangleThem & Us

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

22/5/20

Obituary

Mick Cotter 21-9-57 to 20-5-20

22/5/20

Rolls Royce

Strong union response needed against job cuts

20/5/20

NSSN

Organising to fight for workplace safety

20/5/20

CWU

Postal workers' action results in double victory for union

20/5/20

Peterborough

Posties walk out in Peterborough after manager tests positive

20/5/20

Covid

Johnson claims workplaces safe but HSE cancels inspections

20/5/20

Protest

Safe protests against Tory corona chaos continue

19/5/20

Hull

Trades council debates workers' political representation

18/5/20

Coronavirus

Communities condemn Tory handling of crisis - with safe protests

18/5/20

Coronavirus

Contract tracer speaks out: Tories' plan is outsourced chaos

18/5/20

Coronavirus

Parents - Organise against 'back to school' plans that threaten everyone's safety

13/5/20

West Midlands

West Midlands trade union activists discuss the battle for safety on the front line

13/5/20

RMT

Transport union RMT tells members: refuse to work in unsafe conditions

13/5/20

Boris Johnson

Johnson's plan terrifies me - readers react to lifting lockdown

13/5/20

Housing

Starmer in full retreat over C-19 rents crisis

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999