HAF (halsall against Fracking) Group has asked prospective councillors and local political parties to declare how they feel about Fracking.
With the issue of Fracking a major issue for the North West and the country in general, HAF believes the electorate should have the right to know which candidates are pro and which are against Fracking, allowing them to make a more informed choice at the ballot box. So HAF contacted the local offices of political parties with candidates standing as Borough Councillors in West Lancs to find out where they stood in the issue.
The Rt. Hon MP for West Lancashire Rosie Cooper has already responded to HAF in a letter stating: “My position is clear, I will not support fracking whilst there is any question of environmental damage or threats to the safety of residents. As the MP for West Lancashire constituents who live in close proximity to the site are my top priority. I believe residents want to be assured of their safety not bribed by inducement of community benefits.”
David Westley Conservative Councillor and Leader of West Lancs Borough Council responded: “I am replying on behalf of the WLBC Conservative Group. As I explained in our telephone conversation earlier today. In view of the planning implications it would not be prudent for the Conservative Group to answer your question. If you would like a more detailed explanation then I should be pleased to accept an invitation to attend the next meeting of the HAF Group”. A spokesperson for HAF said: “Cllr Westley is always very welcome to attend our meetings, but the idea was to obtain pre-election responses.”
Cllr, Adrian Owen, stated on behalf of the ‘Our West Lancashire’ Party: “Candidates standing in these local elections to the Borough Council have all individually agreed to support the Halsall against Fracking Campaign.”
Labour Cllr. John Hodson who is re-standing for the Scott Ward has already been working with, and helping anti-Fracking groups REAF and Frack Free Lancashire for some time. Cllr. Hodson stated at a recent HAF Meeting: “The issue of Fracking transcends party politics” and that he would work with anyone from any party to try and stop it happening.
Halsall Parish Councillors Barry Critchley and Ray Brookfield who are standing as UKIP Borough Councillor’s for the Ashurst and Derby wards, and are also part of working group set up to look at the risks of flooding to the area if the satellite pumps are turned off, said: “We have always worked hard to represent local the community and we will continue to put their interests first, and we totally support HAF”
Maureen Mills Chair of HAF said: “This is exactly what voters want to hear. People want local politicians to put their communities first.”
The Green party which although did not responding directly to HAF, do state in their literature they are against Fracking.
Tony Green Chairman UKIP West Lancashire Said “UKIP Councillors act independently in the interests of local residents. A referendum on “Fracking” would be held and the Councillor would be bound by the decision be it for or against.”
HAF member Lynn Campbell added: “We are hugely encouraged to see existing and prospective candidates and some parties declare their opposition to Fracking, and how they intend to put the wishes of the people they are aiming to serve above any party mandate”.
Photo: John Nolan (Southport)
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