Barbara has made clear she will oppose any proposals to start hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in Irlam. This follows news that the firm IGas is said to be planning to apply for permission to start fracking operations Irlam in the near future.
The process of fracking involves drilling a hole deep into shale rock which contains natural gas, then pumping in at very high pressure vast quantities of water mixed with sand and chemicals. This opens up tiny gaps in the rock, through which the trapped gas can then escape.
Barbara has voiced serious concerns about the potential environmental dangers that fracking could have on the area and the negative impact the process could have on the value of local homes near to the proposed site.
“I am concerned that a great deal is still unknown about fracking. Doubts remain as to whether the process is safe and environmentally sound.
“Parts of this area are already prone to subsidence from mines and quarries and I fear that fracking could make these problems worse. Some home insurers will not cover any damage caused by fracking. Drilling and fracking operation in an area have been known to bring house prices down by up to 20% as people do not want to live in areas where fracking is planned. Any proposals for drilling and fracking in this area could have a long-lasting adverse impact on the quality of life of local people.
“It has been argued that this process may generate jobs. However, I understand that there may not be many jobs for local people and consideration of some extra jobs cannot outweigh the safety needs of people in Irlam, Cadishead and other neighbouring areas.
“I will oppose any application which sought to start using hydraulic fracturing in Irlam or other local areas where I felt the process would not be safe or would bring detrimental impacts on quality of life for local people.”