Hall argues that West Sussex County Council has been “complacent” on fracking. She states that earthquakes risks have been ignored and the council has effectively outsourced decision making to central government.
She also criticises council leaders for avoiding responsibility. “Lionel Barnard (WSCC deputy leader) states that forthcoming applications would not be supported if there were any uncertainty. He does not give any indication as to what can be done,” she writes. “Will WSCC leave the decision to proceed with fracking on this site to other regulators?”
“I believe that the council has a duty to its residents to be more proactive in this decision and not just to sit back and see what others decide.”
Meanwhile Balcombe Parish Council continues to show exactly the failures of leadership that Councillor Hall points out. BPC seems determined to avoid taking a stance on the issue, perhaps because one of its own number is millionaire Simon Greenwood, which owns the land on which fracking is scheduled to take place.
The Parish Council has convened a working group to examine the benefits and risks of fracking. Copies of this report will be made available to the residents of Balcombe (who are obviously, in BPC’s eyes, unable to perform research themselves). The council will then decide how best to represent their constituents, based on these views.
Exactly what democratic process will be used to assess local opinion is unclear. Currently BPC risks being lost in a procedural miasma which will result simply in the continuation of its current policy: do nothing.