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FURY AS SALFORD MAYOR REFUSES FRACKING DEBATE
 

Star date: 8th April 2014

SALFORD MAYOR `HIDES BEHIND PROCESSES' TO AVOID FRACKING ISSUE

"Ian Stewart is a joke, a jellyfish…he's got no backbone" Steph, Ordsall

"Democracy? They don't know the meaning of the word" Jean, Irlam

Salford City Mayor, Ian Stewart and his Cabinet this morning refused to debate the issue of fracking, after a petition with three thousand signatures was handed over condemning the controversial gas extraction process.

After a five minute speech by the petitioner, Stewart said there would be "no further debate". It left campaigners - half of whom weren't allowed into the meeting – horrified… "I get the feeling that they are hiding behind processes" said petitioner Ali Abbas from Manchester Friends of the Earth.

Full details here…


Salford Mayor Refuses Fracking Debate Salford Mayor Refuses Fracking Debate Salford Mayor Refuses Fracking Debate
Salford Mayor Refuses Fracking Debate Salford Mayor Refuses Fracking Debate Salford Mayor Refuses Fracking Debate
Salford Mayor Refuses Fracking Debate Salford Mayor Refuses Fracking Debate Salford Mayor Refuses Fracking Debate
Salford Mayor Refuses Fracking Debate Salford Mayor Refuses Fracking Debate Salford Mayor Refuses Fracking Debate
Salford Mayor Refuses Fracking Debate Salford Mayor Refuses Fracking Debate
click image to enlarge

"Your rights were taken away, you weren't allowed to speak, it was a case of just sitting there for five minutes. There was no engagement with the Mayor or anyone, it was ridiculous." Kevin, Irlam


Around fifty anti-fracking campaigners protested outside Salford Civic Centre this morning, surrounded by Salford Council's over-indulgent security measures.

Police kept a watchful eye from inside and outside the building as mothers holding babies and pensioners sang anti-fracking songs, while a memo had gone around to all staff telling them that `additional security will be in place' and asking them to `remain vigilant at this time'

When the Council Cabinet meeting got underway at 10am, less than half the campaigners who had stood outside the Civic Centre for almost an hour were allowed in, the Salford Mayor, Ian Stewart, citing `health and safety reasons'.

Campaigners had hoped that the Council would be forced, at last, to hold an open discussion on fracking, triggered by over three thousand people signing a petition opposing the controversial shale gas extraction process. Instead, what they got was yet more silence.

Ali Abbas, on behalf of Manchester Friends of the Earth, which had launched the petition, was allowed to address councillors for five minutes - but Stewart made it clear before the meeting started that "no member of the public will be allowed to speak, apart from the petitioner".

Ali made a passionate speech, challenging claims made by the fracking industry that shale gas would bring down prices, create jobs, tackle climate change and help national security.

He added that IGas – the company doing the exploratory drilling at Barton Moss - had originally explicitly stated that it was looking for coal bed methane gas when its intention, now admitted, was to look for shale gas…

"If you can't trust IGas in the exploratory phase then how can you trust them in the future?" he asked, calling on Salford Council to pass a motion against shale gas exploration.

Ali handed over the petition to Assistant Mayor for Planning, Derek Antrobus, and then Ian Stewart closed that section of the meeting.

`Aren't you going to respond?' shouted someone from the public seating… "We are governed by the formal rules of the Council – there will be no debate" said Stewart "We will be called to make a decision and would exclude ourselves from being involved". He then asked people to leave, much to the fury of those present.

"They're useless. Democracy? They don't know the meaning of the word" said Jean Caruthers from Irlam.

"At least fifty of us have come down today to hear the Council debate fracking, hear their answers and hear where they are up to with it…because since Barton Moss started not one of Salford councillor has been down there or spoken out" said Darren Nesbitt "Instead, we've heard a statement being read out and then asked to leave with no discussion whatsoever.

"How is the public being involved?" he asked "The Mayor said that the Council is governed by its rules. No! The Council should be governed by the people."

And Kevin Done from Irlam added "It was pointless coming down, your rights were taken away, you weren't allowed to speak, it was a case of just sitting there for five minutes. There was no engagement with the Mayor or anyone, it was ridiculous."

Steph, from Ordsall, helped to get people to sign the petition, spending many hours in the street collecting signatures…

"All the time and effort we went to, explaining to people what fracking is all about, and now it's just been chucked in the recycle bin" she fumed "It's an absolute joke. I'm furious with this Council. If this is democracy I don't want it. I don't think it is democracy, it's their version of democracy, and I just want them out. Ian Stewart is a joke, a jellyfish, he's got no backbone."

Others were convinced that the Mayor and his Assistant Mayors were using procedures to avoid discussing the fracking issue…

"It's using procedural technicalities to avoid debate just before an election" said Martin Burke, a Green Party election candidate "Not all members of the Labour party are subject to the legal constraints of Labour councillors who might sit on the planning committee. Someone from that party could engage in the debate but they are avoiding it because it would be very unpopular just before the election."

And Colin Gong, from the Barton Moss Community Protection Camp added… "We need to check that they are following due process because I was under the very clear understanding that we would get to hear an hour long debate by the Council on fracking. Instead we got a pre-prepared statement from our side and zero, silence from the Council…"

Ali Abbas, who handed over the petition, was equally seething…

"It was really important that we got a chance to address councillors…what was disappointing was that we didn't get a chance to have a debate on the issue and that's got to happen" he said "People expect councillors to come out and say very clearly where they stand on fracking. They have the power to put in place a motion which presumes against development of shale gas extraction in the Barton Moss area and in Salford as a whole. So, from that point of view this is the start of the process.

"I get the feeling that they are hiding behind processes" he concluded "It's all very well having processes like that, but what you want is a forum for debate. We need to have a forum, have that debate and come up with solutions that are right for Salford."

This afternoon, a press release from Manchester Friends of the Earth, included a statement from actress and Salford resident Maxine Peake calling for Salford Council to get off its fracking knees…

"It is of utmost importance that we prevent fracking from becoming a reality in this country" she said "We must stop the Goverment's bribing of local authorities into participating in this disastrous exercise. No to Fracking! Stand up Salford before it's too late…"

* See also previous Salford Star articles…

Salford people take on councillors over Barton Moss - click here

Photos by Steven Speed

Eddie wrote
at 10:33:09 on 12 April 2014
Disgraceful and unacceptable . We must vote these undemocratic council parasites out in May .
 
Nigel Woodcock wrote
at 10:03:40 on 10 April 2014
Good article, thanks very much. It is really deplorable that the Labour party has a blind spot over fracking. There is an anti-fracking party people can vote for, however, which is green coloured...
 
kenneth mckelvey wrote
at 22:27:09 on 09 April 2014
THE eviction of the lady from worsley is a disgrace/ What sort of deviates thought up that tax, How come the Royals dont pay it they all live in state funded housing the Queen alone has 700 hundred spare rooms in buck house / Like cammy the liar said WE ARE ALL IN IT TOGETHER
 
kenneth mckelvey wrote
at 16:52:43 on 09 April 2014
Terry is right what we need is some anti fracking councillors Their must be plenty of labour supporters who would vote for the anti fracking party. But would never vote for the other partys. SO why not try it /this lot in at the moment are like the three wise monkeys. Somebody should explain to them You Cannot Sit On Both Sides of a Fence you were voted in by Salfordians for the use and benifit of Salfordians not PEEL ESTATES or whatever they are calling themselves this week. s
 
Michael Felse wrote
at 16:52:32 on 09 April 2014
I urge everyone to vote in the May local elections. It is time to say if local people do or do not want fracking on their doorstep.
 
alan davies wrote
at 10:11:35 on 09 April 2014
didn't expect anything else,the people of Salford need to get rid of this council and its so called leader.The whole world is being desecrated by this fracking business we need to stop it now,for those that follow on.
 
ex labour voter wrote
at 10:11:22 on 09 April 2014
Is anyone really surprised by this latest example of contempt for the electorate arrogantly displayed by the Salford Mafia ? The People can show their contempt for the undemocratic plethora of parasites by voting them all out in May . Don't vote labour , conservative , or liberal . Give the independents a vote , and only those that will serve the interests of this shafted city and its betrayed inhabitants .
 
Terry wrote
at 08:17:53 on 09 April 2014
What we need is an anti fracking candidate, that way even labour voters can register there disapproval without betraying there principles.
 
alan.tunnacliffe wrote
at 22:20:50 on 08 April 2014
me and my wife have our own agenda against the mayor and salford council but who the hell do they think they are .the people of salford sign petitions and hand them in for him just to ignore them . he would be better off being the mayor of moscow where there is no democracy
 
Reg Howard wrote
at 22:20:44 on 08 April 2014
How stupid of Ian Stewart to take this stance,does he not realise that the elections are only weeks away and the people of Irlam and Cadishead have thrown out Labour councillors before, ,ask Roger Jones, this contencious issue is a sore point in the area as he must know,he lives there, or maybe he is going to use his campervan as a getaway vehicle when the lynch mobs go calling,the reality is that many other people throughout the city feel aggrieved by the way this council is ignoring the wishes of the people a fact which I hope will be reflected in the ballot boxes next month , so I urge everyone to get out and vote, drag your friends and neighbours out as well, get rid of these parasites who are killing our city, people power can prevail.
 
mark krantz wrote
at 22:20:21 on 08 April 2014
Manchester Council did something similar with our anti bedroom tax petition. Thousands of names collected - then they said that the format was not within the regulations, so it was not accepted. Campaigners had spent months collecting names and post codes. Different Council, same trampling on democracy..
 
s.jones wrote
at 22:20:05 on 08 April 2014
Disgusting but predictable. Old boys club circle governs Salford Council, has done for years. They don't know the meaning of democracy and rarely listen to its citizen's, except at voting time of course.... then they pretend to listen, then when you've voted them in they don't want to know! Very few good ones in that lot! Shameless waste of space most of them! At least by publicly giving them all the info on the dangers of fracking, for them at least in the future there will be no plausible deniability..... nowhere to hide when damage is done and the public seeks to hold them to account
 
Ged wrote
at 22:18:18 on 08 April 2014
What a useless , ignorant , arrogant , spineless jellyfish Mayor Greedy Bastard has once again proven himself to be . The arrogant gobshite forgets who pays his excessive salary . WE DO .
 
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