Thursday 31 July 2014
Fracking: consultation discounted.
In the early 1930s the powers that be proposed that Birstall, the urban village where I live, which then had its own independent Local Government Council, should be merged with (or taken over by) the neighbouring Borough of Batley. A referendum on the proposal was organised and the worthy burgers of Birstall voted as follows:
3 524 against
190 spoiled, abstained or did not vote.
So in 1936 Birstall was duly merged with (taken over by) Batley.
(This was followed two years later the German Anschluss of Austria. Whether Hitler took Birstall's experience as a precedent is not recorded.)
More recently our government has ordered a consultation on whether or not "fracking" for shale gas should be permitted. Most of those involved in the consultation are opposed, including two of the government's own bodies: Public Health England, part of the Department of Health, are opposed on the grounds that insufficient consideration has been given to the consequences for public health on the potential contamination of water supplies; Natural England, the environment protection agency, says that important natural habitats are insufficiently protected. These in addition to the "usual suspects" such as the RSPB, the Green Party, and environmental groups and climate change campaigners who believe that the government should be concentrating on renewable energy sources rather than exploiting yet more carbon-based, polluting, non- renewable resources.
So, in response to a resounding "No" the government has decreed that fracking is to go ahead. It appears that those with the most money and the shortest time-scales, the (largely foreign owned) fracking companies keen to join the bonanza, speak with the loudest voices.
No wonder the public is increasingly, and justifiably, cynical about the political process, and their (our) disillusionment is shown by increasingly smaller turnouts in elections.