We get it, parliamentary debates can be borrrrrrring. But just for you we have broken this one down to make your life that little bit easier.

What: A debate in Parliament focused on the government’s proposals to include Fracking under ‘Permitted Development’ – making it as easy to frack as it is to build a conservatory or garden shed.

When: Wednesday October 31st 2018, 4:30-5:30pm

Who: The debate was led by Mark Menzies the MP for Lancashire

Where: Parliament Hall

To watch the full debate click here.

Highlights

This debate saw some real highlights in the form of MPs speaking out about some key anti-fracking arguments. Some highlights are listed below:

The start of the debate saw Mark Menzies mention the influence of constituency members emailing MP’s asking them to attend the debate. Further proof that emailing your MP really does make a difference! In particular, Jared O’Mara, Sheffield Hallam MP noted that fracking was the topic he was contacted most about, knocking even Brexit off the top spot. 

The debate featured some useful contributions from MPs which outlined the idiocracy of lumping fracking permissions in the same category as building a conservatory. Mark Menzies made a strong argument highlighting that Permitted Development does not fit with fracking, noting that “these are not small or insignificant developments by any means”. In fact, throughout the debate he, among others, continued to note the governments huge inconsistencies when it came to policies on permitted development.

Similarly, another MP raised a great point about the double standards that apply to Permitted Development, arguing that this proposal makes it easier to frack than to build offshore wind. A strong argument highlighting the government’s failure to take climate change seriously.

Blackpool South MP, Gordon Marsden called out Claire Perry for her secret meetings with Gas companies, pointing out that she made time for them but not once has she, or any other minister visited the site at Preston New Road. 

Karen Lee, Lincoln MP called out the government’s vested interests in a particularly powerful intervention arguing strongly against fracking. She was also the only MP to properly address the incompatibility of fracking with regards to our climate change commitments.

Key Quotes

There were lots of “hear hear” moments as we watched the debate, so we have added in some of the key quotes that got us nodding in approval!

“Moving to permitted development is nothing short of irresponsible and downright bonkers” Mark Menzies, Fylde Lancashire MP

“Government proposals to fast track fracking are a shameful clamp down on local democracy” – Karen Lee, Lincoln MP

“Permitted development is a subversion of local democracy” – Tim Farron, Westmorland & Lonsdale MP

“We are kidding ourselves if we think these decisions are happening locally” – Mark Menzies, Fylde Lancashire MP

“This proposal on permitted development is ludicrous and needs to be stopped” – Lee Rowley, North East Derbyshire MP

“Isn’t this a real local concern… If we are truly going to take back control, that should mean a genuine democratic procedure, not a stitch up that benefits private interest” Justin Madders, Ellesmere Port & Neston MP

Key Facts

Some truth bombs were dropped during the debate, and you have to see them to believe them…

“Latest polling shows that just 18% of the public support fracking.” Well then, it turns out that Claire Perry’s attempts to paint anti-frackers as an isolated few, speaks more appropriately to pro-frackers. We wonder what else she might be bending the truth on…

60,000 responses to Scotland’s fracking consultation, and 99% of them were fundamentally opposed to fracking. Clearly there is strong opposition to fracking, so why then are England trying to make it easier to implement?

Conclusion

Although only one MP spoke out in favour of fracking, the Minister’s response was also rather disappointing. His pre-prepared speech was a classic example of political speak which essentially said nothing, but tried to reassure MP’s that their opinions were being listened to. 

Critically, as pointed out earlier in the debate, the local council in Lancashire voted against fracking, but the government went over their heads and gave it the green light anyway. And this could arguably happen again.  Many MPs seemed to fear for this, urging the minister not to ignore their interventions, and asking the government not to overturn local democracy again.

What seems clear is that the government are all over the place and are failing to listen to not only the majority of their MPs, but crucially the population whom they are sworn to represent.

Regardless of the government’s bottom line, fears about Britain’s energy independence, and the realities of our reliance on gas, fracking does not align with our climate change commitments, and the majority of Britain’s population don’t want it #NotHereNotAnywhere.

So tell us this Claire? Why are you so keen to frack? #DoYouEvenCareClaire
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