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Government's decision on fracking an "undemocratic, environmental and economically unsustainable disgrace" says Gordon

Gordon has issued the following statement following the Government's announcement to allow fracking to go ahead on the Fylde Coast, ignoring the decision made by Lancashire County Council to refuse it.Headshot.jpg

He said: “This decision to allow Cuadrilla to drill in our area is an undemocratic, environmental and economically unsustainable disgrace. This new Tory Government has ridden roughshod over local democracy in the planning process, over the decision of Lancashire's elected county council, the views of the communities affected and the interests and concerns of Blackpool. It has ignored the threats fracking poses to our residents, the noise, disruption and pollution on the roads into the town, and to our tourists and our jobs, and services vital for Blackpool’s visitor economy.

“It makes a mockery of Government claims to be devolving power and decision making to local communities and of Theresa May s promise at Tory Conference this week to be on the side of ordinary people. At a time when oil and gas prices are at historic lows, her Government is giving a green light to a process which is a financial and ecological dead end in our fight for a cleaner world and against destructive climate change.

“It is a decision delivered by Sajid Javid, a Secretary of State who is a dry unreconstructed Thatcherite who has done little or nothing to promote industrial strategy. It’s been announced while Parliament is in recess, giving no chance for Ministers to be questioned now by MPs and peers on the decision.

“It shows up a new clear dividing line - between a Tory Party in hock to fracking' business lobbyists and a Government which has ignored the evidence and reports of Parliament s Environmental Audit Committee and will allow drilling for shale gas in our national parks, and a Labour Party which has continued to warn about fracking s potential consequences and has reinforced this with a further commitment against the Government's fracking proposals.

“Across Blackpool and the Fylde we have heard concerns expressed from thousands of local people, including farmers, business owners and health professionals about safety, the future of our countryside and public health. Yet this Government cynically is ignoring all of them in order to pander to its fracking backers'

“I have consistently attacked this Government over their hypocrisy and double standards in giving communities a say over wind farms but not over fracking and challenged David Cameron in Prime Minister’s Question Time on it. This decision to allow Cuadrilla to drill flies in the face of all the other developments in our area with the potential of the new Enterprise Zone at Squires Gate and the offshore activity in Liverpool Bay to make us locally a centre for wind , wave ,solar , biomass and other sustainable green energy as the way forward.

“Going down that route would create far more jobs, skills and apprenticeships for a safe low- carbon energy future. The number of skilled, long-term sustainable jobs fracking would create locally, despite the exaggerated unsubstantiated claims of its backers, would be negligible.

“I've been calling over this past year for initiatives for a ‘Cleaner, Greener Blackpool'. We should continue to fight for that and against this Government and its decision which would take us back to blots on the landscape from fracking and condemn people across Blackpool and the Fylde to years of road congestion, noise and pollution , a threat to our rural and seaside tourism and continued fears about the irreversible damage fracking could bring to our area.”

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