Frack Free Zones


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helping local campaigns secure a frack free future in the UK

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Frack Free Zones

  1. 1. Frack Free ZonesJustin Woolford, The Change Co.
  2. 2. goal• Frack Free Future – make ‘fracking’ and shale gas exploration politically unacceptable 2
  3. 3. objective• County Council declares county a ‘frack free zone’ / passes motion that equates to FFZ 3
  4. 4. why?• connects + unites isolated local anti-fracking campaigns behind common goal: frack free zones + frack free future – currently a series of unconnected, under-resourced local campaigns face a potentially unending / exhausting sequence of ‘licence to drill’ planning application battles• provides local level objective that is achievable / politically meaningful and gives Councils a symbolic / strategic choice about County’s future – bring longer-term thinking about energy future into play – reference any relevant local ‘sustainable development’ plans and new NPPF guidance on renewables and planning principle on low carbon transition – leapfrog hard-to-win series of individual planning application campaigns• builds political support for national moratorium – existing stoppage on ‘fracking’ aside (pending DECC decision on Cuadrilla quakes), a national moratorium is currently unrealistic due to lack of political will – Counties declaring as FFZs reinforce each other and triangulate political / public opinion for ministers• makes progress visible (to media, decision-makers, industry) at a national level as one County after another declares frack free
  5. 5. and …• a FFZ campaign allows Counties without current proposals / planning applications to join in / be pre-emptive
  6. 6. and …• it’s positive, suggesting the alternative: community renewable energy
  7. 7. how? local FFZ campaign approach• frame campaign about control over local / county futures and place – ‘we won’t be druv’ (West Sussex resident to Cuadrilla, Jan 2012)• creating political opposition (and opportunity) at a local / county level – ‘narrative’ = “we don’t want it here”: visible local signs and stickers, local meetings, petitions, and mobilisation of active local community members + organisations (e.g., WI, CPRE, etc.) – adopt resolutions in opposition to fracking / gas development to create a sense of geographic opposition and begin to engage with broader political process – aim = fracking rejected by local communities + organisations on possible water pollution, landscape, noise and disturbance, and industrialisation grounds (which are more immediate and resonant with local interests than climate change) – though some local groups are doing so, the main objective is not to lock horns locally with the shale gas industry in the planning system but to begin to cut down their room for manoeuvre and show that fracking is not politically viable
  8. 8. legal anatomy / locus of an FFZ• County Council acts as local Minerals Planning Authority and grants permission for activity in PEDLs – planning permission: granted / rejected on basis of ‘material planning consideration’ – based on planning policy and relevant laws – see new guidance on planning in the National Planning Policy Framework (March 2012) • note paragraphs 142-149 on mineral extraction which appear to promote development • note paragraphs 17 and 97: principle of low carbon transition, plus promotion of renewable energy – refer to any existing local development plans that promote sustainability
  9. 9. possible FFZ campaign mechanics• Objectives – County Council makes FFZ ‘declaration’ via council vote – local MP supports campaign: signs EDM / calls for moratorium (+ supports renewables / community energy)• Steps 1. local group prepares and plans – e.g., identify one person to be campaign co-ordinator, ensure website has good evidence base, identify key spokesperson with key messages about positive frack free future, and prepare collateral – see below – and identifies possible campaign timeline with key Council meeting dates / targets 2. local campaign group declares desire for county to be a FFZ along with 2-3 key supporters / champions (e.g., local DJ, councillor, vicar, local business, etc.) - involves local paper, approaches local MP for support + seeks constituency meeting 3. brief and recruit support from other local CS organisations (e.g., local WI, local FoE, local Green Party, local Wildlife Trust, local CPRE group, and other clubs, societies, etc. – the more at County level the better) who declare support for FFZ, pass their own resolution, give quote for website / local media story when join, and help with petition 4. local groups launch petition to County Council calling for debate and declaration on frack free future – ensure this has set target number and deadline aimed at a Council meeting / vote or similar 5. local group meets with MP and other CS leaders to update and provide media opportunity for the MP 6. gather signatures – go out and collect as many people as possible to sign it, including local decision- makers, councillors and other prominent local people. 7. present petition to Council in advance of meeting, inc. presence of local CS leaders – inform media, etc. 8. Council meeting / debate + outcome 9. Council Leader declaration (announcement of desire to be frack free) alongside call for moratorium (+ call for renewables support in development plan – TBC if county is ready / relevant) 10. local campaign frames this as FFZ for local / national media and MP responds / signs EDM / supports call for moratorium• Collateral – petition text and sheets / online mechanism / DIY photo petition on local group blog site – flyers, posters, stickers, badges, T-shirts, signs, placards, banners (as appropriate)
  10. 10. example / opportunity: Ireland / Northern Ireland"At a recent county council meeting ★Fermanagh County Council voted to banFracking in the council area. ★In the Republic 5 county councils (Leitrim, ★ ★Donegal, Sligo, Roscommon, and Clare) allvoted unanimously across the board with ★every political party voting to ban Frackingin their council areas with some moving toexplicitly state that there be a ban in theircounty development plan. ★This has no influence on national policy orlaw in the republic but shows complete/across the board support for a ban onfracking in these areas by local people andpoliticians.” Michael McEvoy, Northern Ireland, January 2012
  11. 11. these are effectively self-declared ‘frack free zones’they could declare as FFZ and help to inspire other groups to do the same
  12. 12. local / regional VSFrack Free Zones national VS 12