The Frack-Free Movement is taking holding in Somerset and the small coastal town of Watchet is leading the way. Labour councillors there have been supporting the case for a Frack Free Zone and the issue was successfully voted through at full council recently.
Watchet Town Councillor Robin Nuttall (Labour) led the debate at Watchet Council’s meeting on 5th December 2016 which considered the question of whether or not to support a plea from local organisation “Frack-Free EQS” (Exmoor, Quantocks & Sedgemoor).
Red Line Plan
Having established that the term “Watchet” used in the motion was the boundary described on the “Red Line Plan” held by district and county offices, Cllr. Nuttall said that having attended the Fracking Meeting on the 10th March 2016 at Washford Memorial Hall and watched the presentation from Dr James Verdon, an eminent geophysicist from Bristol University, he had the following to say about the presentation made to council on the 14th November from “Frack Free EQS”;
“Whilst I fully support fossil-free, environmentally neutral, renewable energy production, it is also worth noting that opponents to fracking should ideally rely solely on truth and facts, not fear-inducing misinformation such as some of the content within FFEQS’ presentation given to this council. By using out-of-date assertions that are at odds with facts about modern methods of extraction given by Dr. Verdon, they risk their credibility by making themselves too easy to dis-credit.”
He went on to say;”Leaving resources in the ground for future generations is the responsible thing to do until such times when there really are no alternatives left. That isn’t the case right now; there are alternatives that provide power without depletion, but unfortunately they are not privy to the same sort of incentives from the government as those given to the frackers. More resources should be given right now to develop wave, tidal, wind, solar etc. whilst the technology and the means are available, before the lights go out. It is for this reason that I support the motion to declare Watchet a frack-free zone, after all, what harm can it do? This is within Watchet that we are talking about; is anyone actually going to put drilling rigs in our parks and gardens, in our public spaces and across our streets? I don’t think so!”
Frack Free Watchet
Cllr. Nuttall’s opening statement was then further supported by a leading Conservative on WTC who claimed to have widely consulted younger members of Watchet’s population who were overwhelmingly opposed to fracking generally, whether in Watchet itself or beyond. Other contributors were heard in further discussions which eventually led to the decision to pass the motion for Watchet to become a “Frack Free Zone” by majority vote, 6 in favour, 2 abstentions and none against