Frackgate: Osborne in fracking scandal
I don’t give two hoots about democracy. We’ll make sure fracking happens even if you don’t want it – shocking revelations in a letter from Chancellor George Osborne to his Government colleagues.
The letter, leaked to Friends of the Earth, spells out the Government's underhand plan to roll out fracking no matter what. Osborne's recommendations include:
- Side-stepping democracy – less time spent consulting the public
- Undermining elected representatives – by helping fracking companies overturn applications rejected by county councils.
- Carrying out the fracking industry’s PR – spending cash on a ‘communications plan’ (market research) to see which messages work best on people.
The letter reveals just how closely the Government is working with industry to make sure that fracking takes off in the UK. It reflects badly on David Cameron who said that local councils and communities should be free to decide if they want fracking.
The Government is backing frackers
The revelations come ahead of a week of important decisions on fracking.
MPs will get to vote on fracking – for the first and only time in this Parliament. And Lancashire County Council will vote yes or no to 2 shale gas drilling applications by Cuadrilla.
Embarrassingly for the Government, a planning officer has recommended that Lancashire County Council reject Cuadrilla’s applications. But the letter reveals how the Government and Cuadrilla will try to overturn a rejection of Cuadrilla's planning application.
Councillors in Lancashire will be shocked that the Government is plotting with Cuadrilla how to make sure that they can frack in Lancashire even if their applications are rejected next week. Such Government collusion with a highly unpopular industry will just make fracking an even more politically toxic issue.
But the movement to keep the UK frack free keeps on growing
Osborne’s letter dates back to September last year. Presumably he underestimated the level of opposition he would face in 2015. In the past week alone, senior and back-bench MPs, including from his own party, have come out firmly against fracking.
Furthermore, over a quarter of a million people have signed a petition to David Cameron calling for an end to fracking. Please add your name now and share.
And 74% of the public oppose proposals for fracking companies to drill under our homes without permission. In Lancashire two thirds of residents want to keep it frack free.
Major cities around the world are also saying no. Like New York who have rejected fracking over health concerns.
Help us keep Lancashire and the rest of the UK frack free
Osborne thinks that he can roll out fracking no matter what. But the opposition is starting to dwarf his arrogant plans. We can win this fight but we need to act now.