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FRACKING IMPLICATIONS FOR SALFORD AS LANCS GROUP LOSES LEGAL CHALLENGE
 

Star date: 13th April 2017

LOCAL DEMOCRACY IN PLANNING PROCESS TRASHED

Yesterday's decision in the Manchester Civil Justice Centre against a community challenge to Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, that will allow fracking to go ahead in Lancashire has huge implications for other areas, including Salford, states Preston New Road Action Group, which is currently fighting Cuadrilla's attempts to frack in Fylde.

The Group adds that the Court decision and Government attitude make a mockery of allowing local people more say, the so-called foundation of Greater Manchester devolution...

Full details here...


Andy Burnham at Manchester Anti-fracking rally Frack Free Lancashire GM Mayor Environment Hustings
click image to enlarge

"If a planning process can be controlled by external corporate interests and the government policy of the moment, it...begs the question whether local democracy now plays any valid part in the planning process."


Anti fracking campaigners yesterday lost an appeal against the decision by the Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, to overturn Lancashire County Council's democratic refusal of Cuadrilla's application to frack four wells at a site near Blackpool.

The group had sought to have Sajid Javid's determination declared unlawful, with five points of law having been breached. However, Justice Dove ruled in favour of the Secretary of State – and Preston New Road Action Group states the decision will have massive implications for other areas, including Salford, the site of fractious anti-fracking protests at Barton Moss a few years ago.

"The ramifications of allowing an unwanted industry to proceed, against the express wishes of the democratically-elected local planning committee and local community's wishes, are immense" explains Pat Davies, Chair of Preston New Road Action Group

"For residents to have no say in shaping the community they live in, is also against the overarching commitment outlined as a key aim within the Government's own National Planning Policy Framework" she adds

"This contradictory approach smacks of muddled thinking at best, or autocracy at worst" she says "If a planning process can be controlled by external corporate interests and the government policy of the moment, it is neither fit for purpose and begs the question whether local democracy now plays any valid part in the planning process."

The group points to the irony of Greater Manchester devolution, where the Government and politicians argue that it will put more decisions in the hands of local people...but, if this issue is anything to go by, not anything that really matters.

Indeed, Greater Mayor candidate and favourite, Andy Burnham, espoused his anti-fracking views at a huge rally in Manchester last November, also attended by Bianca Jagger...

"These fantastic campaigners from Lancashire - how can it be right that their voice can be taken away by a Government that's too close to the vested interests of big business and has rigged the law in their favour?" he asked "...That's what George Osborne and the Tories have done, taking their public for granted, taking the say off local people, and we want to stand up against it. I will stand up against it if I am elected Mayor of Greater Manchester..."

And then he added "The law as it stands doesn't give me the power to ban it..."*

After yesterday's decision, Claire Stephenson from Preston New Road Action Group concluded... "Justice and democracy have not been observed in Lancashire. We are truly dismayed at this decision.

"We will now take time to reflect on the ruling and liaise with our legal counsel to advise us further" she added "We said no and we will continue to say no. This is not the end..."


*For a full report on Andy Burnham's speech see previous Salford Star article – click here


On Friday 28th April there's going to be a What about the environment? mayoral hustings being jointly hosted by Frack Free Greater Manchester, Campaign Against Climate Change, Friends of the Earth, Global Justice Manchester and the GM Environment Forum.

It will run from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Friends Meeting House in Manchester and to book free tickets click here. People can also submit questions to candidates in advance or on the night.


Main photo by Steven Speed

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IRWELL FLOOD CONFERENCE HEARS SALFORD IN PERIL UNLESS OTHER BOROUGHS ACT

Star date: 19th August 2017 

LOCAL COMMUNITIES MUST BE HEARD ON FLOOD ISSUES

Today, a packed community-led conference attended by flood actions groups from across the River Irwell catchment area heard Lower Broughton resident Keri Muldoon call for councils further upstream from Salford to act on flooding.

While Salford Deputy Mayor, John Merry, addressed the meeting, no councillors from Bury attended, much to the fury of flood victims from that town. The main message was that communities with local knowledge of rivers must be heard.

Full details here...

VANISHING AT THE KINGS ARMS SALFORD

Star date: 19th August 2017

ZEITGEIST SOUNDS FROM VANISHING

Vanishing, Bernholz and Tombed Visions DJs
Thursday August 31st
The King's Arms 8pm £6

Something is definitely disappearing from society and the well named combo, Vanishing, is trying to set it all to words and electronic dystopian sounds with an album and a live seated show at the Kings Arms on 31st August.

Full details here...

SALFORD COUNCIL HANDS ALMOST £200,000 TO BBC AND MIF WHILE CLOSING DISABLED CHILDREN’S HOME

Star date: 18th August 2017

CASH STRAPPED SALFORD COUNCIL HANDS OUT ALMOST £200,000 FOR BABY OPERA, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND END OF THE WORLD PARTY

Cash strapped Salford City Council has, in the last few months, handed sponsorship to the BBC of £150,000 and £36,000 to the Manchester International Festival, which included subsidising an opera for babies and an 'end of the world party'.

Meanwhile, next week, the Council is proposing to close The Grange, the city's only residential care home for disabled children, despite opposition from staff and families.

Full details here...

SALFORD BENEFIT ARMY TO TAKE ON DWP OVER UNFAIR DISABILITY ASSESSMENTS

Star date: 17th August 2017

VOLUNTEER ARMY TRAIN TO HELP DISABLED FIGHT UNFAIR ASSESSMENTS

A new army of volunteers has been trained this week to accompany people going to DWP disability assessments to ensure they are treated fairly and gets their rights to state help.

"I think it's very important that people are there to stand up for those who are not necessarily best able to defend themselves in a benefit system that is set up basically to catch people out; force them off benefits" explained Ben Clay, who was one of the volunteers at the training course organised by Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre.

Full details here...

SALFORD COUNCIL SET TO BORROW £25MILLION TO MAKE TOWER BLOCKS FIRE SAFE

Star date: 16th August 2017

£25MILLION FOR NINE PENDLETON BLOCKS AS PUBLIC MEETING CALLED ON FIRE SAFETY

Salford City Council is set to borrow £25million in order to sort its nine Pendleton high rises, after they failed consecutive Government fire safety tests. Who ultimately pays for the work, a Council report states, is "likely to be the subject of dispute", although it believes that Pendleton Together is liable.

Meanwhile a public meeting for residents will take place next Tuesday, 22nd August at Salford Arts Theatre, with speakers from the Justice4Grenfell Campaign, Salford City UNISON and the Fire Brigades Union.

Full details here...

 



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