The city council unanimously voted that Christchurch would be a fracking-free zone.
The city joins a growing list of councils worldwide that have banned fracking in the teeth of government opposition. 61 municipalities in the US have banned fracking, as have five counties in Ireland (including bans in Donegal, Sligo, Roscommon and Clare) and one in Northern Ireland (Fermanagh). France has declared a moratorium, along with Quebec, Bulgaria, the German state of Westphalia.
East Sussex recently expressed its concerns over the practice, and called for Councillors to be fully aware of the risks before any planning permissions were granted in the county.
Christchurch Council member Paul McMahon said: “Stick up for your local people, because central government isn’t listening,” The council needed to take a stance against fracking, he said, because the Government had declined to intervene.
Fracking has been in the news recently in New Zealand after a sponsor of Womad – the international Music Festival – spilled fracking chemicals at its site near Taranaki.
Fracking – hydraulic fracturing – involves injecting chemicals into rocks to fracture them in an attempt to release oil and natural gas.
Chistchurch councillor Barry Corbett expressed concerned over possible water contamination, as well as the possibility that fracking was related to seismic activity. “I think it’s very silly for us for one, to possibly affect our water with chemicals, and two, to possibly cause seismic issues,” he said.
Councillors also voted 13 to one to call on other councils to declare their areas fracking-free.