The British government is in court today facing a challenge to official planning regulations brought by anti-fracking campaigners who argue the current definition of fracking is not fit for purpose. The case against the government has been brought by the mayor of Malton, Paul Andrews, whose town is the nearest to the fracking operations.
Andrews legal challenge is against two government departments. They claim fracking companies should have undertaken an assessment required under existing EU law. Sputnik spoke to Activist Tina Rothery for more insight on the issue.
Sputnik: What do you make of the legal challenge coming against the government?
Tina Rothery: This is another tool to use, for seven years we’ve been trying everything available to us in this democracy to challenge the government and make them see sense on the danger of this issue.
Every step we’ve had has been a brick wall and they are fracking now after all this time. This is another way to try and get them to stop and at least wait long enough for us to have this proven because; we don’t feel this is a done deal.
We’re not sure they have all the evidence they need to be sure this community is going to stay safe. This is yet another legal challenge to get the government to face up to its responsibilities to a community.
Sputnik: With Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland opposing fracking till research on the environmental impact is finalised, how do you see the court case unfolding today?
Tina Rothery: It was George Osborne during his time, who was really pushing this along with David Cameron.
We do get a sense that the Theresa May government are as not quite inclined or as driven to push this through so we sense we might have some chance of success.
With Scotland & Wales, they maybe had a better influence on their government and their government paying heed which ours didn’t. you have to ask yourself, what could they see that Theresa May can’t see for us, because of its been banned anywhere in the world, why were they not running out with arms wide open screaming yay jobs, local gas and all the things this industry promises.
Sputnik: Is this definition of fracking a way out for business to claim they aren’t fracking when they are?
Tina Rothery: I think the public is becoming wiser to the manipulation to the myths in the marketing, we saw them change the definition of fracking to suit their needs, by reducing the amount of water or depth, they can say that’s not fracking, therefore doesn’t come under the same rules and can bypass some of the regulation.
I think that’s the fear in Scotland as well, where there are concerns for gasification and other methods that are similar in terms of effects and damage and harm that are quite the same.
But I hope the public are seeing through this, whether the courts see through this, I don’t know.
Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Tina Rothery and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.