Mr Menzies Replies
Today we received a response to our open letter to Mr Menzies.
It begs the question as to whether he actually read the letter we sent him which clearly laid out the shortcomings of the Statutory Instrument proposed by the Government, which shortcomings had to be admitted to, by the Minister under questioning from members of her very own party.
We reproduce his letter and the enclosure from Andrea Leadsom for reference here:
Of particular note is Mr Menzies’ implicit admission that the absence of a moratorium does not allow us to get a “robust regulatory framework” in place, and his readiness to accept the platitudes expressed by Ms Leadsom, in spite of having been provided with a clear analysis of how, in the proposed regulation, there are no restrictions on drilling in SPZ 1, 2 or 3, which would create pathways for possible contamination. Under the regulations as originally proposed, companies would be allowed to drill through any aquifer in any SPZ. There are also no restrictions on surface activity in any SPZs.
We think our MP should adopt a more analytical and critical approach to what he is told by his colleagues if he wishes to maintain the respect and support of the local electorate. It certainly isn’t appropriate that he should unchallengingly accept whatever he is told by his colleagues and then repeat the slurs in his column in the local paper.
This is what he enclosed from Ms Leadsom – interestingly what he refers to above as “very important points” are seen as “nothing more than scare stories” by his senior, but badly ill-informed, colleague. He subsequently repeated that “scare stories” insult in his column in the Lytham St Annes Express.
Ms Leadsom either simply does not understand the points that were made to her Department on Tuesday 27th October during the committee meeting, or she is deliberately misleading her colleague, as she totally ignores the reality that the SI as proposed was a U-turn on what was promised by her government in January, and that she had been forced into a further “spectacular” U-turn as a result :
The fact that firstly Ms Leadsom appears so unaware of the reality, and secondly Mr Menzies seems so ready to be persuaded by her protestations that “there is no substance” to the “allegations”, when it was clear, even to other Conservative MPs like Michael Fabricant, that there was plenty of substance, is a cause of some concern to those of us who look to our elected MP to represent Fylde in Westminster and not Westminster in the Fylde.
As you can read , it is full of the standard platitudes that we would expect, having listened to her struggling now on more that one occasion. The penultimate paragraph is interesting though as it demonstrates that Ms Leadsom is indeed aware that the SI was deficient in exactly the way that was alleged , and in a way which shows that the government had reneged on its clear undertaking in January that it would ban fracking from National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), World Heritage Sites and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).
When the SI regulations were published, they did not include SSSIs in the ban on fracking and they permitted drilling under National Parks and AONBs at a depth of more than 1,200m. Ms Leadsom in an embarrassing U-turn now has to introduce further statutory legislation to remedy the deficiencies and to keep the promises her government made.
Exactly as was pointed out to Mr Menzies by Defend Lytham in our Open Letter before the committee meeting.
If there is any misinformation and scaremongering going on it is pretty apparent from which direction it is coming isn’t it?