|Dear Mr Ball,
As the officer handling this application, in light of the all the controversy surrounding ‘fracking’ related activities, and bearing in mind he public comments made by Councillor Gordon Kemp, leader of Vale of Glamorgan council, in June (see this article that featured in the Western Mail on 15th June: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/cardiffonline/cardiff-news/2011/06/15/calls-for-welsh-government-to-take-control-of-south-wales-gas-reserves-91466-28880099/#ixzz1PMlQpIqG ), can we safely assume that you, or Councillor Kemp, or someone within the Vale of Glamorgan council will be requesting that this planning application be called in by the Welsh Government?
Councillor Kemp did, after all, write to Carwyn Jones asking the Welsh Government to take responsibility in planning matters relating to the exploration and exploitation of shale gas reserves. Coun Kemp recognised that a national Welsh framework policy needed to be drawn up by the Government to guide councils about whether drilling for the gas should be allowed. This clearly recognises that the council is not qualified to judge these issues.
We know that Carwyn Jones has had nothing to say on this issue publicly to date, despite being pressed by myself and others. We also know that the Welsh Government are uncomfortable with taking the issue on themselves, as all the Labour administration have publicly said is that it “would welcome” working with the UK Government on developing a framework for the whole of UK.
To some, this can appear to be ‘passing the buck’ to Westminster. To me, it is the perfectly reasonable response to an issue that has such complex and potentially dire ramifications that it should be dealt with properly at the highest level. This does not mean another fudge of an enquiry such as that chaired my Tim Yeo earlier this year. It means a national moratorium, as in France and South Africa, while a proper, independent, scientific study of what fracking would mean is undertaken. With my own background in geology and geography, I am confident in what the outcomes of a properly structured investigation would be.
In the meantime, you will be well aware that the original application stimulated great local opposition, focussed on the “Vale Says No!” campaign. This campaign group is still alive and kicking, but has developed and morphed into the “No Fracking UK” campaign group that has fostered links with the Co-operative and garnered support from across the political spectrum both locally (Alun Cairns and Jane Hutt for instance) and nationally.
This application, more than any other in South Wales, will become the focus of intense interest again. I personally can assure of this through my representation of the anti-fracking movement in South Wales at high profile events throughout September (Green Party Conference, the national Camp Frack event near Blackpool, and a high profile event being sponsored by the Co-operative in Bridgend – more details on this soon).
So, Mr Ball, do your duty to the people you serve and ensure that this application is handled in the right context and by the people that ultimately need to take responsibility for what is at stake here.
|Bridgend Green Party Meeting
Thursday 18th August 2011 at the COITY CASTLE INN Lounge.
Bottom of Tremains Road, (by big railway bridge) Bridgend, CF31 1HA . 8.00pm
NOTE – new venue for trial period. 2 minutes walk from both the Bus and Train stations.
Gasland – UK première, Tuesday 16th August, 11pm
CURRENT TV – SKY CHANNEL 183 (or Virgin 155)
Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a process used by gas companies to extract natural gas trapped inside hard shale rocks deep inside the earth by flushing it out.
Why is this a bad thing we hear you ask. Well have a look at the trailer for the Oscar nominated documentary Gasland and you will understand why fracking in the UK is something we all should be concerned about.
Not only can the water used to flush out the gas from the shale rocks be poisonous for you and the environment – it can ignite!
Exploration companies claim there is a potential £70bn of gas reserves in rocks deep under south Wales, they have already started franking in Blackpool and there are applications in process for fracking sites all over the UK and Europe.
You can see AN OPEN LETTER TO JOURNALISTS FROM GASLAND DIRECTOR JOSH FOX IN RESPONSE TO ATTACKS BY GAS INDUSTRY here:
|I have been on holiday in tranquil Somerset for the past week. I have been following events on TV and via the Independent newspaper. I could offer my own opinions, but instead I offer two letters to the Independent that I think hit the proverbial nail on the head:
Your leading article of 9 August suggests that “it is spurious to draw a connection between [deprivation and the social marginalisation of inner-city youth] and specific outbreaks of violence of the sort we have seen in recent days”.
Really? Is it so spurious to suggest that an economic and political system that stresses materialist wealth, which constantly exposes us to increasingly sophisticated and ubiquitous advertising, yet which oversees the breakdown of communities and the impoverishment of millions in order to increase the wealth of a minority of individuals and businesses, might be responsible for creating the sorts of individuals who have taken to the streets?
We do not need to argue that these people were explicitly politicised, or fighting for some sort of social justice on the contrary, we can draw the opposite conclusions. Many of these people appear to have been acting selfishly, competitively, and without thought for the consequences of their actions. If only they had a middle-man in a developing country to do their looting, they would make fine capitalists.
When riots like this take place, it is spurious to suggest the social context is not to blame. I do not condone much of what I have seen, but it is perfectly understandable, when we reflect upon the sort of society more respectable thieves in suits have created for us.
Matthew Wilson, Lancaster
The Tories take office and, as night follows day, hundreds of thousands of jobs are sacrificed, welfare services are slashed and rioting returns to the streets of our major cities. People who feel they have a stake in society do not riot and loot.
It is a sad reflection on 99 per cent of the media that it has failed to connect the events of the past few days to news of another round of obscene bankers’ bonuses, projected tax cuts for the wealthiest and another round of “quantitative easing”: that is the squandering public money to placate the financial markets.
If you want evidence of “mindless” looting and vandalism look no further than the Government’s fiscal and social policies.
Dr Mick Wilkinson, Lecturer in Race & Social Justice, University of Hull
|Early bird prices for Autumn Conference are only available for a couple of weeks or so now.Details here: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/conference.html
I am pleased to hear of some Bridgend Greens already booking. I hope a few more will consider going too.
Early Bird Fees payable for bookings received before 22.08.11
Income guide Per annum
Fri/Mon Per day Sat/Sun Per day All 4 days
Under £10,000 £8.00 £10.00 £30.00
£10-15,000 £12.00 £14.00 £47.00
£15-20,000 £16.00 £20.00 £64.00
£20-25,000 £20.00 £26.00 £82.00
£25-30,000 £24.00 £30.00 £100.00
£30-40,000 £30.00 £39.00 £125.00
£40-50,000 £40.00 £50.00 £160.00
£50,000+ £55.00 £70.00 £225.00