Proposed fracking site contested by councillors at Gloucester’s Shire Hall

Councillors have today contested the decision to build Gloucestershire’s first fracking site in the Forest of Dean.

Discussions were raised at Gloucester’s Shire Hall after the Oil and Gas Authority submitted a proposal for the location during August earlier this year.

Following a backlash of campaigns and protests against the movement, Labour’s planning spokesman, Barry Kirby, challenged the application in the Councillor’s Chamber today.

Mr Kirby, who looks after the Grange and Kingsway divisions, put forward a motion to reject the plan on the grounds it posed significant risk to the local environment.

He then went on to recognise the instability of geology in the Forest of Dean, whilst stating that things were made more difficult due to the commercially hidden information about the extraction process.

Councillors from 49 divisions gathered at Shire Hall today, as they weighed up arguments for and against the approval for the site application to go ahead.

Frack Off: Protestors gathered outside Shire Hall to campaign against the proposed fracking site at Forest of Dean.

If the application is given the green light, then leading energy firm Cuadrilla will take control of the site and begin proceedings to extract significant gases from shale rock.

The industry has ensured members of the public that work will be carried out with safety and regulations at the full front of their efforts to extract the gas.

However, protest groups and campaigning teams from the area have expressed their desire to stop the process from happening, raising awareness on the streets of Gloucester.

Environmental awareness group ‘Frack off our Forest’ gathered outside the Gloucestershire County Council in early September to protest over the implications of fracking.

Ahead of today’s meeting over the proposed motion, Earth activist and anti-fracking campaigner, Jojo Mehta, spoke to Glos News about why she feels so strongly about the issue.

Experiencing the US where  the industry has been going for a few years shows that it’s not possible to safely regulate this industry.

The industry itself estimates 6% of fracking wells failed at the start and that over 20 years 50% do.

Fracking involves hundreds of wells so if you’re looking at a 50% failure rate then you’re looking at an inevitable contamination and issue of toxicity, there is no way to regulate this industry safely.

The application has detailed that areas in the Forest of Dean will be drilled to create exploration wells in the early stages of the fracking process.

UK government suspended fracking in 2011 after small-scale earthquakes were experienced in Blackpool following the attempts of Cuadrilla.

A decision on whether plans for fracking will go ahead is expected to be reached within the next few days, however councillors may agree to push back a meeting if an agreement cannot be made.

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