Guest column: Don’t leave people in the dark over fracking plans

Sir Kevin Barron. Picture: Richard Maude
Sir Kevin Barron. Picture: Richard Maude

As many of you will know the energy company INEOS have announced their intention to locate two exploration wells for fracking in Harthill and Woodsetts.

This has obviously caused a huge amount of worry in the local community for both villages.

I have attended numerous meetings regarding this topic, over the past few weeks, to engage in open discussion with local residents about their concerns.

I will continue to do this and I will also be facilitating meetings between residents and agencies, such as the Environment Agency, so that residents can be fully informed of the most recent research on this issue.

I believe INEOS need to do more to engage with the local community.

It is not acceptable for people to be in the dark about plans that will affect their lives.

It was outrageous that the first time many people in Woodsetts knew about the plan was when court-ordered injunction notices were posted around the village.

I attended Woodsetts Parish Council meeting on Wednesday night and made it clear to the INEOS representative that this was not acceptable and they must engage in a much more proactive way.

I am also in the process of arranging a meeting with their directors to make sure the message is clearly heard at the highest levels within the company.

I fully understand that these plans will be causing a huge amount of worry for people in the two villages affected.

And I will be doing all I can to try and alleviate some of that worry.

In other news, I was pleased to hear that Rotherham Council has been successful in a bid for extra funding to strengthen communities.

They are to be given approximately a £1.3 million share of the Government’s new funding pot, which was set up to help local authorities meet the changing needs of communities in light of migration. 

The money will be put to good use by tackling rogue landlords who take advantage of vulnerable people, additional youth work and support for families. 

It will also create more opportunities for local community groups to apply for small funding grants, to support projects and promote good community relations. 

Whilst not an enormous amount of money in these trying times, it is very welcome.

n Kevin Barron’s next surgery will be on Friday, September 8 at 9 Lordens Hill in Dinnington from 7pm to 9pm.