Council reaffirms opposition to fracking after local MP’s comments

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Bath and North East Somerset Council has reaffirmed its opposition to fracking in the area and region.

Soon after he was appointed as the new Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy last month North East Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg announced that the moratorium on fracking was to be lifted, and he told this week’s Tory Party conference that he would be “delighted” if his garden in West Harptree was fracked.

A motion agreed by Bath & North East Somerset Council in 2018 identified that the potential impact of fracking and its capacity to affect the water flows for Bath’s precious hot springs, which it is feared could be catastrophic for the World Heritage City of Bath. The full council meeting resolved to request the council leader to contact authorities which border Bath & North East Somerset to ask them to support the council in its opposition to fracking in our region.

Today the council’s cabinet member for planning and licensing Tim Ball said: “The recent announcement by central government that it has lifted the ban on fracking put in place in 2019 is extremely concerning to the council and local residents.

Cllr Tim Ball

“Bath & North East Council has a statutory duty under the County of Avon Act to protect the source of the hot springs in Bath. This in itself would be a significant reason for opposing fracking within our area.

“However, when added to other environmental risks and impacts – and our commitment to the use of green technologies to help us achieve our net-zero ambitions –  the case against fracking in our own and neighbouring areas is clear and compelling.”

The council says it will now be writing to surrounding local authorities and MPs to reaffirm the council’s position.