Anti-fracking campaigners in Trafford are concerned their ‘voices are not being heard’ despite collecting 1,500 signatures opposing plans to drill for gas in Davyhulme.
Angry residents are now gearing up for a demonstration outside Trafford Town Hall on Thursday evening amid fears that the council’s planning committee will give the project the green light.
Trafford Council’s plans to build a coal bed methane extraction site underneath the proposed Barton Renewable Energy Plant were met with controversy when they were first announced in 2010.
Chair of Trafford Green Party, Dr Nigel Woodcock said: “A decision like this should involve a public consultation, but the only group that the council has invited to give them the ‘facts’ on fracking is IGas.
“As the company making the application to drill, they have a vested interest in downplaying the dangers. Meanwhile, over 1,500 Trafford residents have signed petitions against fracking and coal bed methane extraction, but their voices are not being heard.”
“It is worth noting that the Tory council in Fylde recently turned down Cuadrilla’s application to frack there. We call upon Trafford Council to do likewise.
“This is not a party issue as members of all parties and none, as well as local groups, oppose fracking. Trade unions such as Unite and Manchester TUC have also reaffirmed their opposition to fracking.”
Dr Woodcock also believes that housing prices will significantly drop if the plan goes ahead.
“It hardly needs stating that should the planning committee make the wrong decision on Thursday then property prices across the borough will plummet,” he added.
“Fracking is a discredited technology that enjoys no popular support whatsoever.”
The agenda for Thursday’s meeting includes a proposal to allow coal bed methane extraction next to Davyhulme Waste Water Works, with deep drilling taking place directly under the Barton Renewable Energy Plant site.
But environmental campaigner and Manchester Friends of the Earth activist, Ali Abbas, says we need to meet future energy needs in a more sustainable way.
“If Trafford Council really cares about the climate and the welfare of its residents, the last thing it should do is allow drilling for gas, especially in built-up areas where it puts the health of local people and the environment at risk,” he said.
“Instead, the council should focus its efforts on supporting a wider take-up of energy efficiency and renewable energy, which would bring down bills and cut greenhouse gas emissions as well as creating more jobs for local people.”
Speaking for the Trafford Labour Group, Urmston Councillor Joanne Harding said: “There are unanswered questions and uncertainties concerning health and safety around the environmental harm to the area.
“These include water contamination, instability of surrounding land due to drilling, high usage of water, and the most recent revelation that dangerous levels of radioactivity and salinity have been found in shale gas waste disposal sites which can contaminate drinking water.
“Therefore in light of these concerns the Labour Group cannot support this process being carried out anywhere in Trafford.”
Protestors will meet outside Trafford Town Hall on Thursday October 9 from 5.30pm and public objections to the planning application can be made via the Breathe Clean Air website.
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