A Letter From A Local Councillor to Fylde MP, Mark Menzies
Today indefatigable local Councillor Miranda Cox wrote to her MP, Mark Menzies, expressing her concerns about regulation in general and recent developments regarding the seismic traffic light system in particular.
We thought the letter so good that we asked her if we could reproduce it here.
We look forward to reading Mr Menzies’ reply.
9th October 2018
Dear Mr Menzies
Preston New Road Cuadrilla Shale Gas Exploration Site Regulators responses and Government Agenda
I am writing to you to express my frustration in how questions, complaints and enquiries are handled by The HSE and EA and also convey my dismay that the Government is ignoring the science around Climate Change.
I receive emails daily from residents who are very anxious that every enquiry they send to the regulators is treated as a FOIR and is therefore delayed, often beyond the initial 20 day limit. Confidence in the Regulators is low, as you will have gathered from my previous correspondence with you and this does little to allay fears.
Only this week an interim injunction has been filed against Lancashire County Council and the Resilience Forum, who have been unable to satisfy the Community Liaison Group and campaigners that they have assessed the potential risks adequately, and that emergency plans will be effective. Public perception of this Industry and those authorities responsible for our safety is very poor.
Our concerns about safety range from the larger picture to the minutiae. For example, last week the Police, aided by Cuadrilla staff used a piece of equipment, not designed for lifting people, to remove two protesters. I questioned the Risk Assessment at the time with a Protester Liaison Officer and subsequently spoke to CI Ogle before writing to the HSE. The police responded that the decision to use such an unorthodox method was made in order to save money. The HSE responded immediately to say that Risk Assessments undertaken were adequate.
I was not satisfied by these answers, and a quick look over the guidelines and regulations around lifting, prompted me to write again. The copy of my email is attached for your reference. Today I have been informed my new enquiry is now being treated as an FOIR.
I like many residents feel that we have no recourse, that our letters are not treated seriously or in a timely manner. It appears that resources and staffing in these agencies is insufficient to deal with the scale of concern. This will exponentially increase if fracking moves into the production stage.
Fracking at Little Plumpton is about to commence and yet we are feeling isolated and abandoned. We were promised robust regulation by your Government, but the reality is far from robust.
You will of course have seen the UN IPCC report which categorically stated that fossil fuel extraction must end if we are to stand any chance of avoiding catastrophic climate chaos. Ms Claire Perry herself admitted that the report demonstrated an “urgent need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions”.
I find it incredibly absurd that the Minister for Business and Clean Energy can make this statement and yet pursue a fossil fuel agenda, displaying absolute contempt for her own colleagues who oppose Permitted Development and also those people who are campaigning against climate destroying industries.
Furthermore, today, I note an article in The Guardian in which Ms Perry has indicated Government may relax the limits on seismic activity should the industry expand. I am sure you will remember the tremors seven years ago that affected many of your constituents and led to the moratorium in England. These registered 2.3 on the Richter scale. Current thresholds are 0.5. I suggest that this intention to further relax regulation is to benefit the industry. Regulation should be used to protect lives and property, so this development is a further indication that the Conservative Government cares little for people if they stand in the way of profit. I am incredulous that in such a conservative stronghold such as the Fylde your party are willing to use the electorate as an experiment.
We feel totally undermined and betrayed by the Conservative Government who are determined to fast track an unnecessary industry by overriding local decision making processes, who allow inadequate safety and regulation despite hollow reassurances to the contrary and who are also ignoring the imminent consequences of Climate Breakdown.
We have been visited by MP’s from Labour, Lib Dem and Green Parties who have listened to us and discussed our concerns. We have repeatedly invited you as our MP to come and meet with us, and we have also extended this invitation to Ms Perry.
To be blunt we are not an experiment, we are not going to accept this. We have been resisting for seven years and will continue to do so.