Updated 18 Jan Braving the snow, several members of the public turned out for the “Bin the Infrastructure Bill” demo this morning in St George’s Square, Hebden Bridge. The demo was organised by anti-fracking activist Helen Chuntso.
Demonstrators – including me – were calling on Craig Whittaker MP to vote for vital amendments to the Infrastructure Bill, that Green MP Caroline Lucas and LibDem MP Norman Baker are putting forward. (More info below about the amendments.)
On January 26th, the House of Commons will again debate the Infrastructure Bill, and then MPs will vote on the Bill’s controversial proposals which include allowing fracking under people’s homes without their permission.
The Bill contains several controversial sections. These include:
- a commitment to maximise economic recovery of oil and gas in the UK
- a change to the trespass laws to allow oil and gas companies to not only frack under your home without your consent, but to also leave substances there as well.
With regards to transport, the bill does not provide for better investment in cycle lanes and pedestrian walkways. It also continues the privatisation of our railways despite several public calls for the system to be re-nationalised.
Unless nuclear waste is explicitly exempted and 2 clauses are removed from the Infrastructure Bill, this and any future Government could sanction the dumping of nuclear and other toxic/industrial waste – ‘any substance or infrastructure in the land’ – in shale rock which has been accessed by boreholes ostensibly made for fracking and drilled beneath our homes without permission.
Despite constituents’ appeals, Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker has refused to ask the government to publish the full Defra report on impacts of fracking. So it seems he’s satisfied with the heavily blacked-out version that hides key facts about how fracking will affect rural areas – he doesn’t want to know himself, and doesn’t want the public to know either.
So it’s time to tell him again that it’s wrong of him to vote on the Infrastructure Bill when he doesn’t know what the impacts of fracking will be.
If you put it in your own words, it will have more impact.
If you email email@example.com, you need to include your full name and postal address, so that he can verify you are a Calder Valley resident.
Template letter/email STARTS:
I am writing to you with regard to the Infrastructure Bill which is currently in the process of being passed through the House of Commons. I am extremely concerned that this Bill specifically introduces the new legal duty to maximise the economic recovery of UK oil and gas [Clause 37 in the updated Infrastructure Bill which was posted on January 16th].
This contradicts the UK’s legally-binding climate targets, and will serve to incentivise increased fossil fuel emissions, dis-incentivise renewables and increase the already large influence fossil fuel corporations hold over the government.
I strongly urge you to vote against this Bill, and support the amendments tabled by Dr Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, and Norman Baker, Lib Dem MP for Lewes. They are seeking to delete the above clause (37), along with Clauses 39-44 [in the 16 Jan update of the Infrastructure Bill], which propose decreased regulation for oil and gas drilling, including changing trespass laws to allow drilling under people’s home without their permission, and leaving ‘any substance’ in deep level land.
Thank you for your time,
Green MP Caroline Lucas – one of only 10 MPs to vote against the Infrastructure Bill in a previous reading of the Bill in the House of Commons – said:
“Not only does this bill defy public opinion, it denies people a voice. To allow fracking companies to drill under people’s homes and land without their permission is to ignore public interest in pursuit of the vested interests of a few.
“Three quarters of the general public oppose changes to the trespass law. But their legitimate concerns over the very real environmental and health risks of fracking are falling on deaf ears in Government.
“We’re on a collision course with climate catastrophe. But the evidence says it’s not too late to avert disaster.
“We need a rapid shift to a zero carbon economy and that is not going to happen by pouring resources into creating a whole new fossil fuel industry.
“The Government’s stance goes against the evidence, against common sense and against the wishes of the public.”