Labour veteran Ed Miliband ‘completely supportive’ of county council fracking ban vote

Ed Miliband in Mansfield. Credit LDRS
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

Labour veteran Ed Miliband says he is “completely supportive” of Nottinghamshire County Council’s decision to ban fracking on its land.

The Conservative-led authority approved a motion last month banning the controversial energy source on any land it owns across the county.

Fracking involves the hydraulic fracturing of rocks by pumping water and chemicals at high pressure to release gas to be used for energy.

The motion was put forward by the Independent Alliance at the January 17 full council meeting and was amended by the Tories before being unanimously approved.

It read: “The council believes that fracking has the potential to detrimentally impact the environment.

“This council does not support fracking in Nottinghamshire or outside county boundaries which could adversely affect residents in our county.

“This council, therefore, commits not to allow any fracking activities, including survey work, on council-owned or controlled land and property, unless and until national policy changes.”

The move has been welcomed by former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, who visited Mansfield on Thursday (February 2) to discuss the party’s environmental policies.

Mr Miliband visited the Misson Springs site, in Bassetlaw, in October last year where he confirmed Labour would ban fracking if the party wins the next election.

Reacting to the county council’s decision, Mr Miliband, who is now shadow secretary of state for climate change and net zero, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I’m completely supportive of that.

“We’ve got to ban fracking and Labour would make sure we ban it once and for all.

“I saw from my last visit what people think of fracking here in Nottinghamshire.

“It’s not the answer and this is really important. It isn’t even going to cut people’s bills – it’s a false answer and you don’t solve a fossil fuel answer with more fossil fuels.

“You solve it by coming off fossil fuels and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Bassetlaw’s Misson Springs site was subject to shale gas tests until 2019 after the county council approved plans in 2016.

Exploration work was completed at the site and applicants Island Gas Ltd (IGAS) said it found a world-class gas resource.

In 2019 the Conservative Party made a manifesto commitment to ban fracking and later enforced a moratorium banning the process.

But, in September 2022, then-Prime Minister Liz Truss temporarily lifted the ban before her successor Rishi Sunak reinstated it a month later.

Supporters of fracking say it can create energy at low cost and create jobs.

However, many environmental campaigners have opposed it, saying it can harm wildlife and cause pollution.

And Conservative county councillors last month agreed the process is “not the future of energy”.

Cllr Mike Adams (Con), the authority’s climate change ambassador, said at the January 17 full council: “I’m not willing to be a passenger on the energy bus that we are travelling on.

“Although fracking is here and continually seems to show its face in the energy discussion, it is definitely not the future of energy.

“The way we’ve got to keep ensuring that is the case is listening to businesses and residents.

“If we can take that step and push businesses along, the need for these panic button situations to get fracking on board when bills go up, is not needed as much.”

Cllr John Wilmott (Ash Ind), whose group proposed the fracking motion, added that the process should be “kicked into the long grass”.

He said: “The best way of doing that is to have a policy against fracking.

“Scientists have proved it’s a health hazard. Green modern energy is the answer.”

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