Frack-free Islington

In response to my email, Richard Watts sent the reply below. If only he agreed with all my other emails…

Dear Adam,

Thank you for your email concerning the Government’s consultations on fracking. I share your concern about the implications they could have on speeding up the planning process for shale gas extraction.

I believe it is worth noting that it is unlikely that Islington would ever be an area in which fracking and shale gas exploration is ever considered. Our high density of buildings and high land costs would mean that companies would be unlikely to seek exploration in our borough. It is also not clear from geological surveys whether there are in fact shale gas reserves under London.

The strength of feeling on fracking has been proven by local people across the country coming together to resist attempts to frack in their area. It is therefore very concerning that the Government are considering changing the planning process for fracking and reducing channels that residents can engage with.

It is incredibly important that steps are taken to reduce carbon emissions, including in our borough so that all residents can enjoy a good quality of life and breathe clean air. Islington Council has been working hard to bring down its carbon footprint. In recent years, we have brought down the carbon footprint of the Council’s Pension Fund’s shares by 45 per cent. We are also committed to working towards fully divesting the Council’s Pension Fund from companies that extract fossil fuels.

I am pleased that we are ahead of our target for reducing carbon emissions in the borough by 40 per cent by 2020, and are working towards our long-term goal of Islington having net zero carbon emissions.

The Labour Party has pledged to ban fracking, and has repeatedly raised concerns about its serious implications for communities and the environment. I will of course raise your concerns with Islington’s MPs, Jeremy Corbyn and Emily Thornberry.

We will also continue to work with the Labour Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to make sure he uses his important powers to prevent fracking in London as he has pledged to do, and to work with other local authorities to keep London fracking free.

Thank you again for contacting me about this important issue.

Best wishes,

Cllr Richard Watts

Leader of Islington Council