Leeds fracking debate continues

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Leeds City Council has come under fire for how it opposes fracking applications.

Leeds Liberal Democrats (Lib Dem) councillors say they are disappointed the local authority will not develop its own policy to help it oppose fracking applications.

The council recently voted in favour of calling on the government to withdraw the current licences for fracking in the Leeds area. But councillors rejected an amendment from the Lib Dem group for the council to develop its own policy to help it oppose individual applications from fracking companies. The amendment called for the council to carry out an inquiry into the issue of fracking.

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Lib Dem group leader Councillor Stewart Golton represents Rothwell, an area in which the government is currently consulting on whether fracking licences should be awarded.

Cllr Golton said: “I am glad that the council has said it is opposed to fracking. But it’s not enough to simply complain about government policy. The council has a responsibility to get itself into the strongest possible position to oppose fracking applications in Leeds and so it’s crucial that we have a policy setting out how the planning process deals with the issue.

“The government’s proposed fracking areas include areas like Rothwell Country Park and Rothwell Pastures which could be under threat if we do not get ourselves into a stronger position to say no to companies that want to drill here.”

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said: “I am more than happy to consider, alongside my colleagues, future policy for the council. But we have to be clear that it is central government who are pushing ahead with fracking, whilst companies working in renewable energy go out of business.”

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