Tuesday, 20 January 2015


Fracking? On our doorstep or perhaps under it

It may literally be a case of talking the talk but not walking the walk when it comes to the Labour in Wales Welsh governments claim to be standing up for Wales. A recent Parliamentary Question by Jonathan Edwards MP has revealed that the Labour in Wales Welsh Government has failed to press the Westminster Government on devolving powers over fracking to Wales.

Plaid Cymru tabled amendments to devolve powers over fracking to Wales and our country’s Labour in Wales elected representatives in Westminster sat on their hands or like the old News of the World made their excuses and left.  Perhaps it is simply a case of talking the talk at home and then hopping than no one will notice when their colleagues continue to do little for Wales at Westminster.

There are real and serious concerns about the environmental impact of fracking, which is why a number of countries in Europe and several US states have introduced moratoriums on fracking. The way things are at present; Wales will have no power to do so, with the Westminster Government yet again dominating Wales in relation to the licensing or prohibition of fracking.

Now what is interesting is that Scotland is set to have full powers over licensing fracking as set out in the Smith Commission proposals which all Westminster parties support following Gordo’s Vow made to the people of Scotland during the independence referendum campaign, the Labour Government in Cardiff has not been pushing for Wales to have the same powers.

Last Tuesday the UK Westminster government agreed to exclude Scotland from laws making it easier for fracking firms to drill for shale gas. The Infrastructure Bill, which is currently passing through Westminster, is set to allow underground access in England, Wales and Northern Ireland but not Scotland.

In Scotland, the SNP Scottish government, the Scottish Labour Party and the Scottish Green Party have all opposed the bill provisions of which would apply to residential areas. Scottish MP’s in Westminster had lodged amendments to the bill – the question might be asked is where were our Labour in Westminster elected representatives?

Jonathan Edwards MP said:

“It is absolutely astonishing that despite constantly claiming to be standing up for Wales, and that Wales should have the same powers as Scotland, Labour have yet again revealed that they talk a good game but do precious little to make it happen.

“As part of the devolution of powers promised to the people as part of the vow in the independence referendum, Scotland will have full powers over the planning and licensing of fracking. What is good enough for Scotland is also good enough for Wales, and we should also have the same powers.

“Yet Labour has been shambolic in its approach to delivering this for Wales. Last year, the Labour First Minister said that Wales should have the same powers as Scotland, yet parliamentary questions reveal that away from the press headlines, Labour are not even pushing for those powers, perhaps obeying the commands of their London masters. They are just rolling over and allowing Welsh resources to be plundered for Westminster and City of London profit.

“Wales should have full powers over the licensing of fracking. Plaid Cymru tabled amendments to the Infrastructure Bill in Parliament towards the end of last year seeking to enable Wales to have those powers, yet Labour refused to vote in favour.  

"Plaid Cymru consistently works for Wales in Westminster, pushing for more powers, investment and control over natural resources, and against damaging austerity cuts.”

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