30.10.2014 Fracking: Lobbying our MPs - and new threat of Fracking in London

Members of Brent FoE with MP Glenda Jackson
As part of national FoE's anti-fracking campaign, we are meeting our MPs and prospective Parliamentary candidates to find out their views and highlight our concerns about this 'dirty' technology.
So far we met with prospective Brent Central and Hampstead & Kilburn Libdem candidates, Ibrahim Taguri, and Maajed Nawaz both of whom are anti-fracking; and this week  Nick, Viv, Pam, Debbie, Pat (pictured) and Farhan met Glenda Jackson, Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn.  In a lively discussion we found common ground on the need to address climate change more urgently and insulate our homes
(building regulations have sadly weakened under the coalition Government), but disagreed on the so called 'energy gap' and whether fracking has a role to play in 'keeping the lights on'. 
Whereas FoE believe we must leave some fossil fuel in the ground to achieve carbon reduction targets, Glenda felt that fracking for shale gas, in spite of concerns about the dangers of the process, and the climate change effects, is essential because renewables such as wind and solar cannot meet the gaps in gas supplies that may arise in the next few years.

One of our main concerns was the huge volume of ground water (4 million gallons needed per well head) and the contamination of our water supplies, and whether there is a plan to deal with this; Glenda thought there 'must be'.  Another was the escape of methane and toxic chemicals used in the  process.  Glenda acknowledged that sufficiently strict safeguards need to be in place for fracking to go ahead (Trafford Council was forced to delay a decision on a drilling application recently due to an inadequate environmental impact assessment, raising concerns about the planning process) and that no Government would go ahead without public support.  Indeed she conceded that she was no supporter of fracking per se, but concerned that there are 'no easy solutions' to secure future energy supplies.
The forthcoming Infrastructure Bill includes a clause to allow fracking companies to put any substances in the ground under our homes, without any obligation to notify us, or to remove them - a condition that Glenda will not support.
We look forward to meeting our other MPs and candidates in coming months.
Viv Stein
Since meeting with Glenda Jackson reports have come in about plans to frack in London, perhaps even on the Park Royal industrial estate in Brent. At first glance this looks like a hoax, but it has been widely reported, particularly on the BBC news website. If this goes ahead, it will be a test for Brent Council and their policy to oppose fracking in the borough.
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