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Updated: Have the Conservatives Fracked Rossendale? Jake Berry New Minister for the Northern Powerhouse

Rossendale, Lancashire

In the peaceful valley of Rossendale, there is something under the ground which is causing quite a stir. Shale gas discovered in parts of the North West have been ear-marked for fracking and the local communities aren’t happy. Maybe the earthquakes Cuadrilla’s company caused in Blackpool in 2011 might have been on their mind. Rossendale campaigners launched R.A.F (Rossendale Against Fracking) and campaigns through 38 Degrees.

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Jake Berry 4 Fracking?

The local Conservative MP for Rossendale and Darwen, Jake Berry, seems to have other ideas about fracking. In 2014 Jake launched a Fracking Forum Quoted saying

“Although there are no plans for fracking sites in our area that I am aware of, I’m interested to hear your views about it so I can properly represent everyone in Rossendale and Darwen on this important issue.”

The website has since been shut down.

In January 2016 Jake was quoted in the Lancashire Telegraph

“I think it is right that we explore the possibility of making use of shale gas and oil. “

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Jake Berry MP Rossendale & Darwen

Scout More Wind Farm : Not On Our Hills

But Jake seems a lot more confused about renewable energy.

In a YouTube interview Jake said,

“The second group of people I would associate myself with think actually gas, non-conventional gas can be part of the energy mix we need in this country along with renewable wind energy…”

However Jake, led the campaign Not On Our Hills to appeal Rossendale Council’s decision to allow the Scout Moor Wind Farm Expansion. The expansion would have brought local jobs and extra funding to the Rossendale community.

The statement below was taken from www.scoutmoorwindfarm.co.uk | After being kept waiting for over a year Peel Energy decided to pull out of the deal.

In September 2015, the expansion plans for Scout Moor Wind Farm were supported by both Rochdale and Rossendale Planning Officers and their elected Members.

Subsequently in December, the project has been called in by Greg Clarke MP, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for his own determination.

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Disclosed Interests

According to WeWorkForYou.com as well as being MP for Rossendale and Darwen, Jake is paid £30k a year as a consultant to Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP “as a consultant solicitor advising on client services, business development and on other specific matters.”

Squire Patton and Boggs, appear to offer services in relation to fracking. Their website features several articles on the legal impacts of fracking and whether investing in fracking is the right time, from as early as 2011.

Squire Patton and Boggs also appear have many associations with the company ARUP, who submitted the planning application to Lancashire County Council on behalf of Cuadrilla. SPB and ARUP have sponsored several events including the Northern Powerhouse Conference in which Cuadrilla presented.

Speaking about fracking in an article from drillordrop.com Richard Glover, the National Head of Planning for the law and lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs, described environmental statements for Cuadrilla’s two planning applications in the Fylde as “ginormous” . “Just producing that documentation is hugely time-consuming and lengthy process.”

Update

Following the election in June 2017 Jake Berry has since been appointed the new Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, announcing on Twitter this afternoon.

Voting Record

On the 26th of January 2015 2 votes were held; Jake voted against the ban exploitation of unconventional petroleum along with his party majority.

On the same day he also abstained from voting on the introduction of Environmental Permits for Fracking. Had it not been rejected this amendment would have introduced a provision explicitly requiring an environmental permit for fracking.

In December 2015 Jake Berry received a sizeable donation from Squire Patton Boggs for a party of 3 MP’s – no further information is disclosed on the website.

Central Government Ignored Lancashire

Follow several successful local campaigns, Lancashire County Council rejected the plans from fracking firm Cuadrilla.

A Whitehall source said: “It is incredibly frustrating for the government. Cuadrilla has already spent millions on the process, and will now have to spend millions more on the appeal. Without a successful outcome in Lancashire, there could be knock-on effects to other areas where there appears to be shale gas which we need.”

But Cuadrilla appealed the decision, and the appeal was approved by the Secretary of State; Sajid Javid. The decision to ban fracking in Lancashire was overturned by the Conservative Government, much to the dismay of the people of Lancashire.

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Update 15.06.2017

GreenPeace have launched an online petition to Theresa May to stop fracking in the UK stating:

Theresa May: Don’t frack the UK
Fracking isn’t the solution to our energy needs. Investing in it will divert vital cash and resources away from clean, renewable energy projects. And digging up more fossil fuels, right at the time we need to stop burning them, will only make climate change worse.

Unless we act now, some of our most beautiful countryside could end up covered in thousands of drilling rigs as fracking firms seek to extract gas and oil beneath.

Add your name to this petition to tell Prime Minister Theresa May to reverse plans to roll out fracking in the UK.

Agree? Sign it here

 

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