Trafford Council votes against Fracking

13th November 2014

Trafford Council last night (Wednesday 12 November) formerly voted to oppose fracking at its Full Council meeting. The Trafford Labour group had submitted a motion opposing fracking [1] which was also supported by the Liberal Democrat group.  During the debate the motion was amended to affirm that Trafford council will oppose fracking “until such time as it can be proven safe” and this was passed with cross-party support.

Over 1500 people have signed a petition to Trafford Council opposing fracking. Local campaigners, who had gathered outside the Town Hall ahead of the meeting, reacted with delight at the news the council was opposing fracking but called on Councillors to do the same for other unconventional gas such as coal bed methane which is proposed for Davyhulme.

Pete Abel, a Trafford resident and co-ordinator of Manchester Friends of the Earth said:  “We are pleased that Trafford Councillors have acted to protect their residents against the risks of fracking, and call on them to do the same for other risky unconventional gas such as coal bed methane extraction which is proposed for Davyhulme. Trafford’s economy and environment could benefit hugely from renewables and energy efficiency which will offer far more for jobs and will tackle climate change more effectively than dirty gas.”

The council were due to decide on an application by IGas to drill for unconventional gas in Davyhulme at the October planning committee meeting, but this was postponed following concerns raised by Friends of the Earth regarding the environmental assessment. [2]

Contacts for comments: Ali Abbas, Manchester Friends of the Earth, lead campaigner on Climate Change.  Mobile: 07786 090520

Pete Abel, Manchester Friends of the Earth co-ordinator.  Mobile: 07951 642858

Notes for Editors

[1] Motion submitted by the Labour group: To reconsider the following Motion adjourned at the meeting held on 16 July 2014:  This Council opposes changes to the trespass laws in the Queens speech which will allow companies involved in fracking, which pumps water and chemicals in to shale rock deep underground to release methane gas, to drill under homes without needing permission.

These laws hastily changed at the same time as a recent poll showed 75% public are opposed to fracking.

Public concerns raised include risk of earth tremors, contamination of ground and surface water, release of greenhouse gases and noise pollution for residents living in the vicinity. All these are genuine concerns, whilst at the same time it is recognised that the most optimistic forecast suggest that shale drilling could meet no more than 10% of European gas demand by 2030. The fact is that any long term damage to our environment would be irreversible, as we see now in America with hundreds of abandoned wells.

We strongly believe we should be listening to the views of local people and the evidence in relation to health and safety and that our duty as a council is to protect the health and wellbeing of our residents and oppose fracking and coal bed extraction of methane gas in Trafford.

Council agenda for 12 November

[2] Coal Bed Methane (CBM) is gas which is trapped in coal seams. To extract CBM, companies must ‘de-water’ the coal seam by drilling vertically and then horizontally (for up to 1 kilometre) and pumping out vast quantities of water that has been in contact with the coal for centuries. This releases pressure in the coal seams, and allows the gas to flow.  Although CBM extraction does not always involve fracking, the chemicals used in drilling muds can be just as toxic those used in fracking, and there are the same risks of spills and leakages. And because CBM is typically found at much shallower depths than shale gas (up to 1200 metres underground for CBM, compared to 2000 – 3000 metres for shale gas), risks such as groundwater contamination are increased.

For more information, see Friends of the Earth briefing on Coal Bed Methane.

[3] Manchester Friends of the Earth is an award-winning environmental campaign group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations. Up-to-date information is available on the group’s website:  Manchester Friends of the Earth is a Licensed Local Group of Friends of the Earth, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

[4] Manchester Friends of the Earth has endorsed Manchester: A Certain Future, an action plan for the city of Manchester to cut its carbon emissions by at least 41% by 2020. For more information, visit