COUNCILLORS in Gloucestershire have taken further step to oppose any possibility of fracking in the county.

On Wednesday a motion was passed which criticises the Government’s plans for individual payments to people living in areas affected by fracking.

The Community Support Payments, suggested by the Prime Minister Theresa May, would see residents affected by fracking paid some of the proceeds of shale gas projects.

The Labour-led motion condemns these proposals as “fundamentally wrong” and calls for review of the controversial policy.

It was voted through by Labour, Lib Dems and Green councillors by 22 to nil at a full council meeting.

The vote went unopposed because the 26 members of the ruling Conservative group, including all those representing the Stroud district, all abstained.

The payment idea has been condemned by green campaigners as ‘bribing’ the public and was called 'fundamentally corrupt' by the council’s Green councillor Sarah Lunnon.

Councillors warned it could lead to “critical environmental decisions” being taken away from communities.

The results of a government consultation on community benefit payments are expected soon.

Before the meeting, campaigners from Stroud group Frack-Free Five Valley gathered outside Shire Hall to for a demonstration.

Speaking after the debate, Steve Lydon, Labour councillor for Dursley, said: "I was proud to support this motion because it was about taking a stand against fracking in the county.

“It has no place and would endanger not only the countryside but the health of residents.

“I was disappointed that every Conservative followed their leader and abstained on it. It was a scandal that they would not put residents first.

“The Conservatives have failed to stand up for local people and put their party first.”

The motion also spoke out against the council’s failure to adopt a presumption against fracking in the draft local minerals plan, expected to come into force in 2018.

It noted “disappointment” that the administration had not chosen to heed the recommendation of its own Environment and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

The draft included a policy towards unconventional gas extraction, which critics argue leaves the door open to the possibility of fracking in Gloucestershire.

To counter this, the amended motion also included a line which affirms GCC’s opposition “in principle alone” to any attempt to frack in the county.

It also requests that another body which concentrates solely on fracking be created to consider key aspects of the Local Minerals Plan.

The leader of the council will now write to Gloucestershire’s six Conservative MPs and the Secretary of State for Business to urge them to re-evaluate Government policy over the proposed Community Support Payment for fracking.

Mark Hawthorne, Conservative leader of GCC, said: “There are no applications for fracking anywhere in Gloucestershire, and the county’s geography makes it very unlikely any will come forward.

“That’s not stopped Labour playing the politics of fear. Frankly it shows just how desperate Labour has become.”


  • The motion was proposed by Cllr Barry Kirby. It was amended at the meeting:

This Council notes that the Government have recently proposed a change to their ‘fracking’ policy to include a personal payment to households within the area of proposed ‘fracking’ sites.

This Council believes that this is fundamentally wrong, as it could lead to critical environmental decisions being taken away from communities as a whole.

This Council reaffirms that the protection of Gloucestershire’s environment is a key priority for this authority.

This Council notes its disappointment in the Government for abolishing the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

This Council also notes its disappointment that that previous recommendations made by Environment and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee have not been supported by the administration.

Therefore this Council requests that the Cabinet Member for Fire, Planning and Infrastructure establishes a cross party advisory group to consider those aspects of the Local Minerals Plan that relate to ‘Fracking’.

This would allow members to represent the concerns of local communities.

This Council asks that the Leader of the Council writes to Gloucestershire’s six MPs and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to urge them to re-evaluate Government policy over the proposed Community Support Payment for fracking.

This Council affirms its opposition in principle alone to any attempt to Frack in the Forest of Dean and other parts of the County.


Gazette Series:

  • Background

Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) is a method of extracting gas and oil from the ground by forcing water and harmful chemicals into rock formations deep underground, resulting in fracturing of the rock.

This process releases gas and oil, which are then recovered from the resulting water mixture.

Environmentalists warn the process is an immature technology that can have a devastating impact on the environment.

Fracking licences were allocated in Gloucestershire last December, primarily in the Forest of Dean for coal bed methane.

However the company which was granted these licenses decided not to carry out any fracking.

South Western Energy said it had decided not to pursue licences which were awarded to explore for gas because energy costs were currently low and future prices were uncertain.

As these licences have not been used, no fracking will be able to take place in Gloucestershire until at least 2018 – when they are renewed.

However, campaigners and councillors want to make sure the door or fracking in Gloucestershire is firmly shut before 2018 comes around.