Protestors want fracking ban for England

Campaigners who successfully blocked fracking on fields in Shropshire are calling for England to follow moves in the rest of the UK to ban the controversial energy extraction.

Moves to stop fracking across Wales will go to the Welsh Assembly today in a bill brought by Plaid Cymru.

The party wants to see new legislation to ensure a presumption against the gas drilling.

Residents of north Shropshire who fear fracking could be back on the agenda in the area in years to come say a similar move across England would all but stop the process.

Mid and West Welsh Assembly member, Simon Thomas, was today due to move a member's legislative proposal in the Senedd.

He said: “Plaid Cymru is calling on the Labour Government to commit to a precautionary approach to unconventional gas activity, including opposing fracking.

“We don’t need fracking in Wales. We don’t want fracking in Wales. Fracking is the old way of doing things. It’s time to throw out the solutions of the past.”

“Instead we should amend land use planning legislation to fast track community owned energy schemes, with a presumption in favour of development."

Chris Hesketh, one of the leading figures in the campaign in 2016, Frack Free Dudleston, which brought to an end plans to extract coal bed methane from fields between Ellesmere and St Martins, said he hoped the bill would be successful.

"Scotland has led the way in banning fracking and now it looks as if Wales could follow," he said.

"Sadly the spectre of fracking is still hanging over us. If we had a presumption against planning permission that would all but see fracking disappear."

Mr Hesketh said that the plight of the people of Misperton in north Yorkshire, where the exploratory rigs were being moved onto a site could so easily have happened in north Shropshire.

"We were just weeks away from the rigs moving in," he said.

Shropshire county councillor, Steve Davenport, said he would also like to see a presumption against fracking.

"I would like to see it banned across the whole of the UK, but most particularly in open countryside," he said.

The case in Dudleston went to the Planning Inspectorate before it was eventually withdrawn in July 2016 when the licence with the landowner ended.

But residents from the village of Kirby Misperton in Rydale, north Yorkshire, have not been successful in a bid to block a decision to allow hydraulic fracturing near their homes.

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