Labour MPs in Cheshire West and Chester have reconfirmed their commitment to oppose fracking on the grounds that significant safety concerns by local communities have not been satisfied and that fossil fuels need to be replaced with investment in energy from clean and green energy sources.

The announcement follows a planning application submitted by IGas today, to flow test a shale gas well at Portside, Ellesmere Port. Local MP Justin Madders said: “I was elected on a manifesto that opposes fracking and the specific concern with this site is that is just 300 metres from residential properties – it also borders a SSI (Site of Scientific Interest). I would encourage local people to use the planning process to air their views.”

Chester MP, Chris Matheson, has long supported campaigns against fracking and it is widely recognised that his support for communities like Upton have made him popular locally. Chris said: “The reality is that, as the crow flies, this application is about 7 miles from Chester – it might not be in my constituency but it still affects us here and we’re all in this together.

“Let’s be clear – this has the potential to contaminate groundwater, including aquifers feeding into the River Dee. If one rig gets approved IGas will have to have more in order to get anywhere near the kind of production volume that would make this enterprise financially viable. Finally, it is really close to major industrial sites and close enough to the pipeline linking Stanlow with Manchester Airport to give me some concern!”

Mike Amesbury was elected as the Labour MP for Weaver Vale in June. Mike said: “Labour pledged to ban fracking in our manifesto at this year’s general election. The majority of Cheshire is already licensed for exploration and production by IGas and INEOS, and in Runcorn IGas are currently building up stocks of fracking equipment. We are on the front line – my particular concern is that Weaver Vale could be next and the best way to get rid of fracking for good is to elect a Labour government.”

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