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Special Digest


08/08/2013

Threlfall's head should also roll.

Or at least there's room for two here

Councillor Fiddler is not alone as a senior Fylde Borough Councillor taking money from Cuadrilla and failing to disclose this until he was forced to by the action of the people fighting to keep fracking from their doorstep.

Another significant councillor is Councillor Threlfall. As portfolio holder for the Environment he has had a significant part to play in promoting fracking in the Borough. Not only as environment cabinet member, but in taking over the seat of the working committee on shale gas. One of his first activities as chair was to sack the professional who had been advising the committee extensively on technical matters regarding fracking, engineer expert Mike Hill. Mr Hill was now expressing views that the council and Cllr Threlfall did not want to hear, that in his view the regulations in place and proposed for onshore fracking would not protect the people of the Fylde.

With a pro-fracking stance in his history, it was perhaps no surprise that at the 28th July council meeting Threlfall declared that he, too, had taken money from Cuadrilla.

The BBC program on 8th August quoted Threlfall as saying he also didn't realise the company paying him foto use his land for seismic testing. Another abject lie, if the BBC report is correct, as Threlfall knew just as well as Fiddler the reasons fo the survey. He knew full well all about fracking, the earthquake link, and the seismic survey, not least because Mike Hill had related all this during the time he had advised the council's special committee.

However, Threlfall, like Fiddler, has failed to disclose an interest until now. Indeed at the meeting where he and Fiddler declared interests, he also withdrew from the debate on a moratorium motion. BUT he returned to answer questions from the public on fracking, in his role as portfolio holder for Environment and Partnerships. This begs the question - if he declared an interest in fracking for the moratorium item, surely it was wrong for him to not similarly declare an interest for the other items regarding fracking and the continuance of fracking in the FYlde.

I will go further. Having a pecuniary interest, he should NOT have acted as chairman of the shale gas members committee, nor taken any part in fracking decisions while portfolio holder for the environment, without declaring an interest, as he did finally on July 28th. He frequently attended meetings with Cuadrilla as part of his committee and working group work.

We will need to ask more questions on this. We will also need to ask whether the two extensive applications currently lodged for new seismic monitoring permission - each of which covers about 80 monitoring sites - relate to any land owned by either councillor Fiddler or Threlfall. If so this makes their failure to declare interests even worse.

In any event, Councillor Threlfall's position as portfolio holder for the environment or as member of any further shale gas committee meeting is untenable. He should resign. And having shown such disregard for the council code of conduct, if not aced illegally, he has like Cllr Fiddler brought himself, his office, his party and the council into disrepute. He , too, should resign as a councillor. Local democracy has no place for such councillors.

If Threlfall and Fiddler fail to resign they should be assured that the matter will not be dropped by those of us who respect the law, morality, truthfulness in our elected representatives and democracy.

The failures as we see them of the Chief Executive at Fylde Borough Council in the matter of declaration of interest and participation, also in advice given regarding the shambles of a debate on a fracking moratorium, which was entirely perverted by an amenment which was counter to standing orders on debate, have also been noted.

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