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Labour MP Bill Esterson calls for government to make sure fracking concerns are addressed

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Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson said that the government should make sure all concerns are fully addressed before fracking is considered near Formby, Hightown and Crosby.

Bill made his comments after Aurora Energy Resources revealed plans to target the area in hopes of finding shale gas reserves.

Planning law does not require 'permission' to be sought from the council for this activity. The council's only role is to assess whether the proposed activity meets the necessary legal criteria. 

Bill Esterson said the Tory-led Government needed to be very careful not to ignore the views of local communities.

Bill said: "The government must not allow these companies to pick and choose where they want to drill for shale gas. Aurora has made clear that one area they are interested in is right here in Sefton - specifically Formby, Hightown and Crosby.

"And despite all the proclamations by David Cameron and Nick Clegg, local authorities, like Sefton Council, can do absolutely nothing to stop these companies moving in and drilling where they please. That is why the government needs to step in and make sure that a full evaluation of the possible dangers is carried out.

"Aurora's plans adhere to the government's guidelines, which means all that is left for Sefton Council to do is to ensure that the company sticks to the rules and ensures wildlife habitats and archaeological sites are protected. The government should ensure far greater safeguards are in place until the evidence shows for certain that shale gas is safe and that it is a sustainable source of energy. Otherwise, it looks like the Conservatives are standing up for big business at the expense of the community."

Bill said we needed strong scientific evidence that fracking is safe.

Bill said: "People in Formby, Crosby and Hightown are right to have concerns. I have concerns. Those concerns are fueled by the need for more evidence to show whether fracking is safe.

"You have to look at the evidence and the science, but at the moment that evidence is inconclusive. We need more independent scientific research so we can reach our own conclusions.

"One of my greatest fears is that the Tory push for profits for their friends in big business could be at the expense of a long term renewable energy policy."

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