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Fracking: County council yet to decide policy
THE pros and cons of fracking are still being weighed up before a policy on the controversial gas drilling technique is formed, the county's council chief says.
Last month the Free Press revealed parts of south Bucks, including Marlow and High Wycombe, may be offered to firms bidding for fracking licenses next year.
An opponent of the process, which fractures shale gas from the source rock, has called for Cllr Martin Tett, leader of Bucks County Council, to say if he would campaign against it.
Cllr Robin Stuchbury, Labour, told the Tory chief his inbox has been inundated on the issue since he called for a public consultation.
He said the leader's party seemed to have changed its tune from the last meeting when he claimed he was called irresponsible and accused of being premature.
He said: "Is BCC any closer now to putting something into its waste policy (on fracking)?
"Id be interested to know what the leader will do and if he will galvanise the campaign against, if it did take place if he would lead the campaign against it?"
Cllr Tett responded: "When we had the debate on fracking last time I stated I personally don't have a view on it because I just don't know enough about the pros and cons of fracking.
"I've seen a lot of the publicity around the demonstrations in Sussex, Balcombe. I've also seen various programmes and read info on the positive effects of fracking in terms of lower energy costs and the fact many scientists say there is little to none of the disruption the opponents claim."
One of campaigners fears about fracking surrounds earthquakes.
New Scientist reported fresh research recently that fracking caused over 100 small earthquakes in a year in Ohio, USA. A leading environmentalist from Marlow recently told the Free Press the impact fracking could have on Bucks is "as serious as it gets" and has called for the controversial process to be banned outright in the UK.
Dave Hampton, a chartered environmentalist and chartered engineer, said that among the concerns Bucks residents could have were the effect on house prices, the frequency of heavy lorries, the costs of policing, use of toxic chemicals, the 'abduction' of water needed for agriculture and possible methane seepage.
The Government says it "believes that shale gas has the potential to provide the UK with greater energy security, growth and jobs and that it is encouraging safe and environmentally sound exploration to determine this potential". Bucks will be examined during a fracking Strategic Environmental Assessment.
Another round of Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences will be available from the Government next year. Any planning applications for fracking activities associated with shale gas exploration or extraction in Bucks would require planning permission from BCC as the Minerals Planning Authority.
However, no operators have yet approached it for pre-application discussions.
A BCC select committee will create a detailed report with evidence based recommendations for Cllr Tett.
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