Earlier in the month was the regular meeting of Bury’s ‘Full Council’. This is the full meeting of all 51 councillors which meets five or six times a year. The meeting was a very busy agenda with important debates on Fracking, the EU Referendum and on Hate Crime.
The Government last year released ‘licenses’ to private shale gas companies for potential exploration for future fracking sites. These licenses cover much of Bury.
As a planning authority, Bury Council cannot ‘pre-judge’ any future planning applications for fracking, so it would be impossible for councillors to vote against any fracking in Bury. What we did do is take a firm stance on the issue by saying that the Council would not allow fracking on any Council owned land in the borough.
Liberal Democrats are opposed to fracking. We don’t believe its proven as safe, we don’t believe it is what we want to happen to our countryside and we don’t believe it is a sensible future source of energy needs (i.e. it is not renewable). We voted to support the proposal which was then agreed.
The Council debated the outcome of the EU referendum, and its potential impact on Bury residents. Obviously at this stage it is not clear what the full impact of the referendum vote will be, but some very early impacts have been on the currency, on the job market and investment – all of which will have an impact on local people.
As Liberal Democrats we were very clear that our Party campaigned for a ‘Remain’ vote, and we haven’t changed our opinion since and continue to believe that the country would be better off in the EU. We do obviously respect everyone’s vote in the referendum, whichever way they voted, and want to support local people through whatever changes happen now.
The Liberal Democrat group’s motion at the Council was on hate crime. As a country we have seen a very worrying increase in the reports of hate crime – for example this terrible incident in Prestwich only a few weeks ago – since the EU referendum campaign. We are particularly concerned of some of the language and racism used in the campaign by some people and the impact this has clearly had.
Our view is that we must take a firm stand against all hate crime, and the Council must do all it can to ensure that this sort of activity is not acceptable. Our motion was supported by all parties and is now the Council’s policy.
If you really want to you can even watch the debates online here.
Our contribution on the EU is at 2 hours 53 minutes, and on hate crime at 3 hours 13 minutes.
The Lib Dem group always ask our full quote of questions (nine in total), some of which we will be reporting on separately.
Tim Pickstone asked about the impact on the Government’s proposal to encourage all schools to be academies, and what leadership role the Council was taking to keep Bury’s schools as a close knit ‘family of schools’.
Steve Wright asked about whether there is going to be sufficient provision in the borough to deliver the Government’s commitment to 30 hours free childcare.
Mary D’Albert asked about the way that Metrolink communicates with passengers when there are significant delays on the network, particularly when the system is operating at maximum (or well over) capacity when there are major events on.
All the papers for the Council meeting are here. Any questions please let us know.