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‘This will send a strong and clear message to those in power’ – Doncaster Council vote to oppose fracking in the borough

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Doncaster councillors have voted to oppose any fracking activities that may come to the borough in future.

In a motion proposed by Coun Dave Shaw (Lab), 40 councillors voted to support the recommendation while four abstained at a meeting of the full council on Thursday night.

Fracking protesters in Misson near Doncaster. Picture: Sophie Wills

Fracking protesters in Misson near Doncaster. Picture: Sophie Wills

Fracking is the process of drilling into the ground and injecting liquid at high pressure to force open existing fissures to extract oil or gas.

Currently, there are no plans from energy companies to frack inside the boundaries of Doncaster Council.

But exploration drilling was granted close to the Nottinghamshire village of Misson – the site is less than three miles from Finningley and was formerly a Cold War missile launch pad.

Other sites regionally in Rotherham and Marsh Lane, on the border with Sheffield, have been granted permission for exploration drilling after a Government appeal.

In a motion published ahead of the meeting, Coun Shaw expressed his concern that the Government has made fracking a ‘central plank’ of the UK’s energy policy ‘regardless of local opinion.

He told a packed council chamber: “This will send a strong and clear message to those in power.”

Mayor Ros Jones, who seconded the motion, said: “For far too long we have to put up with a north/south divide - there are large oil reserves under the south-east of England so why is Government once again trying to exploit areas such as Doncaster and the north? I’ll tell you why because in many eyes the north is a desolate place.

“Fracking will not replace the jobs lost in the mining industry and will simply be plundering the countryside that fracking will bring.”

Conservative councillor Jonathan Wood said: “I’m a little bit sad that Mayor Jones brings up the coal industry because we have many many years of Labour governments from the closure of the pits - I do believe in mining. But I think there is equal culpability on issues surrounding the mining community.

“I think the crux of this is the issue regarding the ‘regardless of local opinion’. We have seen this time and time again at the planning committee.

“If we could set politics aside, let’s recognise where national guidelines ride roughshod and drive trains - and that’s a genuine metaphor - through the backyards of beautiful countryside and communities and that it’s a great shame.

“Where it’s about public democracy I think that is the nail on the head and this motion does have merit.”