Barnsley Council’s Local Plan “Opens the Door” for Fracking in the area

We at the Barnsley Green Party urge local residents to oppose Barnsley Council’s Mineral’s Policy in their Local Plan consultation.

The document states that hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, will be supported by the council. We only have until August 19th to tell Barnsley Council not to allow fracking in our area.

The Minerals Policy (Under section 22 of the plan) states that ‘proposals for the exploration and production of oil and gas (including petroleum, natural gas, coal mine methane, coal bed methane or underground gasification of coal), will generally be supported’, and that ‘proposals for the exploration and production of shale gas via hydraulic fracturing will generally be supported.’

The Green Party is the only mainstream party in the UK to completely oppose fracking, as unfounded support for fracking puts corporate wealth before public health. We therefore call for a ban on all UK fracking operations, and for the UK to close loopholes which put our towns at risk.

Our objections to fracking are based on empirical, peer-reviewed evidence. Not only is fracking linked to health problems such as respiratory and reproductive issues, cancer and headaches, but it is also damaging to the environment due to methane gas, radioactive elements, and carcinogenic chemicals being released in to the atmosphere. There is also an increased risk of earthquakes caused by drilling, as well as risk of groundwater contamination, resulting in water shortages and health problems.

Fracking also puts our farming and agricultural industry under threat. In the US, fracking near farming areas has caused water contamination which has lead to livestock sickness, infertility, deformed young, and death. The risk of groundwater contamination has also led to a significant fall in property values.

In 2016 we should be striving to produce safe, renewable energy. We have the money, infrastructure and resources to stop burning fossil fuels and invest in green, sustainable energy. We are incredibly disappointed that Barnsley Council would put residents’ health at risk like this, and adopt such a regressive policy.

We therefore call on Barnsley Council to remove the statement of support for fracking from the Local Plan, and encourage everyone to raise their concerns by commenting on the Local Plan consultation website. The Local Plan consultation can be found here:

We also encourage residents to write to their local and parish councilors objecting to this support and to attend one of the remaining Barnsley Council consultation events:

  • Thursday 21st July (5pm-7pm)
  • Goldthorpe Library, Barnsley Road Friday 22nd July (10am-12 noon)
  • Wombwell Library, Station Road Saturday 23rd July (10.30am-12.30pm & 1pm-3pm), Better Barnsley Unit, Cheapside, Barnsley Town Centre.

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We hold monthly public meetings on the second Thursday of every month from 7pm at the YMCA in Barnsley town centre.




Green Party oppose Barnsley PSPOs

Proposed Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) in Barnsley could criminalise the most vulnerable people in society and lead to greater marginalisation


Barnsley Council have recently launched a public consultation into PSPOs. These are broad powers which allow councils to criminalise particular, non-criminal activities taking place within a specified area. Unfortunately, we have frequently seen them used against the most vulnerable in our society, mostly the homeless and the young.

We at Barnsley Green Party oppose their introduction, as the definitions of what can be interpreted as a criminal or anti-social activity are too vague and carry disproportionately punitive sanctions. PSPOs will effectively criminalise the poorest people in our society and not tackle underlying issues, or the causes of the activities that they seek to ban.

The way in which the questions in the consultation are worded is a cause for concern. We find questions such as, “how safe to you feel in the shaded area of Barnsley on the map?” and, “do you support the use of a PSPO to control the way that people behave in public spaces…” to be wildly open to interpretation. For example, how do you define ‘erratic behaviour’ and in what form would this kind of behaviour constitute an offense?

The questions are very much angled towards playing on the fears of the respondent regarding alcohol and substance consumption (although strangely not alcohol consumed on licenced premises), leading the respondent to give the answers that the council wants to receive in order to create consent for what could be the introduction of vague and arbitrary laws, targeted against a certain section of society.

The wider effect could be to ban rough sleepers from the town centre, as other councils have attempted recently. As the problem of homelessness grows, PSPOs are designed to keep the homeless out of sight and would serve to increase the vulnerability of an already vulnerable group.

PSPOs could also curtail our civil liberties. This means that Barnsley residents may no longer be able to protest against council or government decisions, or campaign to promote a cause without fear of being criminalised. Effectively declaring protest and free speech in the town centre as anti-social.

We are also concerned that PSPOs will be used to discriminate against people of different ethnic or religious backgrounds and against people of certain age groups.

In Oxford, the council passed a PSPO that prohibits people under the age of 21 from entering a specific tower block, Foresters Tower. Bassetlaw District Council has created a PSPO that prohibits “under 16 year olds … gathering in groups of three or more”.

All that PSPOs will achieve is to move what the council defines as problem behaviour out of the town centre and in to areas which are less well light and policed. They could lead to our residential areas feeling less safe and make no attempt to tackle underlying causes of drug and alcohol consumption. Punitive fines will hit those least likely to be able to afford them and simply fast-track vulnerable people into the criminal justice system, rather than divert them away from it. At a time of rising homelessness and poverty, we should be helping people rather than criminalising them based on their economic circumstances.

It is vitally important that people participate in this consultation by the end of January, whether they are residents, visitors, tourists, buskers or people who care about civic freedoms, public space and social justice. The more people who take part in this survey and express their constructive opposition to these damaging proposals, the more chance we have of ensuring that they do not go through. The consultation will take between 10/20 minutes to complete depending upon the amount of detail you go into it. Your response will make a big difference to this campaign, so please find the time to do it if you can.

“Sleeping rough isn’t anti-social behaviour – it’s poverty.”

The on-line consultation can be found here:

A consultation event is being held on Tuesday 15 December, 6-8pm at the Church of the Nazarene, Oxford Road (off Upper Sheffield Road).