Council calls major debates on fracking and housing

Wakefield Council leader Peter Box.
Wakefield Council leader Peter Box.

Wakefield councillors will take part in two major debates on fracking and the future of the district’s housing at a meeting next week.

And residents are being urged to attend the full council meeting on Wednesday February 17 or watch the debates on their website.

Councillors will first debate a motion calling for the government to withdraw exploratory fracking licences granted to energy companies.

The motion also calls on the government to resist fast track fracking applications.

Hydraulic fracking is a controversial technique used to extract gas and oil from shale rock by injecting water at high pressure.

Coun Peter Box, leader of Wakefield Council, said: “I have stated before that, personally, I am against fracking and I know that I share the view of many other people in the district.

​“However, I want all elected members to have the opportunity to express their views on fracking.

“The purpose of the motion is for councillors to discuss and debate the council’s formal position on this matter.”

Members of the council’s planning committee will not take part in the debate, so that they cannot be accused of pre-judging any applications submitted to the authority.

A report to councillors, which provides updates on fracking and licensing, will be considered, and is being recommended for approval.

Councillors will also debate their response to the government’s new draft Housing and Planning Bill.

They will discuss issues that could affect the district, around the availability of affordable homes, shared ownership and rented accommodation.

They will then debate a motion, asking them to agree to analyse and report on the extension of right-to-buy and the ‘starter homes’ requirement on the local availability of affordable homes.

​The meeting will also be streamed live on the day on the council’s website.