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Power of the people needed to stop future fracking

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: April 24, 2014

Fracking is proving the be a controversial topic across the UK.

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PEOPLE power is the only way to stop possible future fracking in Cwmavon and Pontrhydyfen, Neath Port Talbot Council's mayor told residents at a public meeting.

The packed meeting — with standing room only — was held at Cwmavon Community Centre on Tuesday night, to discuss an application by UK Methane Gas, asking for temporary permission to test land within Foel Fynddau Forest for methane and shale gases.

Keith Ross, of anti-fracking group Safe Energy Wales, explained to residents — who had turned out from all over the valley — what the application meant.

But before he spoke, Cwmavon councillor David Williams stood to explain why he and fellow planning committee members Dave Whitelock and Rob Jones, would not be speaking on the application, but listening to concerns, adding: "We are unable to give any opinion, we are here to listen, because on the 27th of next month, this comes before the local authority and we will be asked to vote," he said.

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Mr Ross led concerned residents through the application, before raising issues with the application on the grounds of air pollution, noise impact and wildlife.

He said if approval was given, more than 200 large vehicles would be driven to the site during a three-month operation period — with lorries having to use the A4107 Afan Valley Road, because of corners in Cwmavon and because junction 41 is set to be closed.

Councillor Rob Jones told residents they should not only be writing to the local authority with their concerns, but also to the Coal Authority, Natural Resources Wales, the Health and Safety Executive and the Department of Energy and Climate Change — all of which the company will have to get licences and approval from.

One resident said though this particular application did not involve hydraulic fracturing — or "fracking" — the applicant had admitted if gas was found, further applications would go in.

He said: "It's a foot in the door proposal, this isn't for 10 weeks and then they are gone, if they find it, it's here forever."

Mayor, councillor Marian Lewis, called on the 7,000 voters across the area to write letters, adding: "People power is important."

The consultation ends on May 8.

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  • afanarts  |  May 08 2014, 9:20AM

    The Afan Valley has been called 'Little Switzerland' and is beautiful now that it has recovered from previous industrialisation. It has huge potential for tourism and I would prefer to see it developed in this way than revert to industry. The whole of the UK would have remained a big forest with a few farmed clearings if it wasn't for the Celts, Angles, Saxons, Romans etc coming and 'economically' developing it.... Let's just dig up the whole world and be done with it - that's all life's about anyway, isn't it?

  • Zoomer  |  April 25 2014, 4:29PM

    Perhaps the Government should allow fracking in a relatively remote part of the UK, and then analyse the resulting ground damage, if any. Fracking has transformed the US economy, and ok, we've heard about flames coming from water taps, but these seem difficult to actually confirm to be true. If a very closely monitored exploration took place ( in a remote area) then we might know the truth behind the claims. I read somewhere that there's enough gas under parts of Lancashire to fuel most of the UK for 50 years. That's a lot of energy, and don't forget, the Afan Valley would just be a few farms, if it wasn't for people coming along wanting to dig for coal a few hundred years ago. No doubt people thought that digging for coal would cause all sorts of catastrophes, with streets falling into mineshafts, etc. Digging for coal led to an enormous employment opportunity, with added health problems true, but it did improve living conditions for many thousands of families who previously just existed working on the land. A full scale and closely monitored trial needs to beundertaken before fracking is to be exploited, or not.

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  • Lunkhed  |  April 24 2014, 7:38PM

    Best everyone starts campaigning for more windmills or a nuclear power station so that there's no need.

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  • Gwyddno  |  April 24 2014, 5:46PM

    "Ministers want to give energy companies the right to run shale gas pipelines under private land, Whitehall sources have confirmed." BBC News 22 April 2014. http://tinyurl.com/moryz6x At a Queen's Speech near you shortly unless people do something.

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