It was only a couple of years ago that Bridgwater Town Council blazed the trail in ‘frack free’ declarations of intent. Since then some 17 towns and parishes across Sedgemoor, Exmoor and the Quantocks have also declared themselves likewise. Today it was the turn of Sedgemoor District Council, passing as it did, a unanimous motion from Cllr Kathy Pearce (Labour, Westover) and seconded by council leader Cllr Duncan McGinty (Con, East Polden) to declare Sedgemoor a Frack Free Zone.
At Augusts council meeting motions from all political parties came forward with varying views on fracking and so the issue was submitted to the Community Scrutiny committee which is chaired by cllr Pearce. After a full investigation into the issues the Scrutiny Committee composited the motions from the different parties to formulate a policy which could be put to the next full council meeting.
Call for Ethical Investments
Kathy’s motion called for Sedgemoor to be declared a Frack Free zone, to oppose unconventional onshore oil and gas exploration, to explore investing in ethical investments, to write to the Secretary of State seeking to remove Sedgemoor from licensed areas and to encourage Somerset County Council to do the same.
The motion further recognised that this was a key part of the Council’s ‘climate change strategy’ and as such the council should also focus on supporting all sustainable renewable energy technologies to ensure that all of the UK’s energy comes from low carbon or renewable sources by 2030.
Cllr Brian Smedley, Labour group leader, said “When freely elected councils declare support for a motion unanimously the impact and effect is that much stronger. It shows the unity of a community in making a clear decision on an issue and on the direction it wants to travel. Fracking is something that can be stopped.”
Frack Free Exmoor, Quantocks and Sedgemoor
Kevin Ogilvy-White from ‘Frack Free Exmoor,Quantocks and Sedgemoor’ had earlier given evidence to the Community Scrutiny Meeting and spoke again at full council saying “If commercially recoverable quantities of gas are located there could be any wells being drilled across Sedgemoor. In my opinion this would result in an unacceptable blight on the countryside and will have a significant impact on communities, farming, tourism, jobs, the environment and almost certainly on public welfare and health, notwithstanding the impact that burning a brand new source of fossil fuel will have on the climate.”