Do you want to preserve Erewash’s natural environment or are you happy for major infrastructure projects to drastically change the area’s environment?
That is the question posed by campaigners who say that because of government decisions, the area finds itself on the ‘frontline’ of a fight in which the Erewash’s environment is centre stage.
As a result, a public meeting was hosted by Erewash’s Green Party last night (Wednesday) in Long Eaton to raise awareness of major environmental issues in three areas - fracking, high-speed rail and open cast mining, all of which they say will have a ‘huge impact’ on life in Erewash.
Heather Hierons, of Erewash Green Party, said: “People should know that policies are being made and licences are being granted that will affect the daily lives of everyone in Erewash.
“The experiences of environmental campaigners in Lancashire and Balcombe show that people can oppose and win.
“We want to raise awareness of the issues and let people make an informed decision on these proposals.”
At the non-partisan event, representatives from Frack Free Notts and Derby Climate Coalition spoke on the fracking licence granted by the government for exploratory drilling in Erewash.
Also discussed was the planned route of the HS2 high-speed rail project through Erewash and Long Eaton and the long-touted open cast mining proposal at Cossall.
Ralph Hierons, former Green Party candidate for Erewash, said: “Brian Davey from Frack Free Notts has been doing quite a lot of this recently and his recent experiences in Bassetlaw will hopefully give people a few pointers on what they can do here in Erewash.
“In many places where protests have taken place there has been a real kindling of community spirit with organisations like the Women’s Institute finding common cause with road protesters so that’s certainly something we’d like to have here as well.
“In terms of HS2 despite the decision being made to spare Breaston it now looks like the proposed route would take out quite large areas of Stanton-by-Dale and Kirk Hallam.
“While the Birmingham to Leeds branch is not an immediate threat we really need to be aware of the issues and be ready to mobilise opposition to it.
“And finally the open cast mine at Cossall that has been talked about for 20 years now seems like it might finally be happening so there seem to be lots of environmental issues centring on Erewash all at the same time.”
Campaigners say they have been out leafleting at the Ilkeston and Long Eaton markets over the last fortnight and have been surprised to discover that many people don’t know about the plans and what it will mean to them, their communities and their environment.
To find out more information about the issues discussed at the meeting contact Ralph Hierons on 07914 536650 or at the Erewash Green Party’s website at www.erewashgreenparty.info.
What do you think? Let us know by emailing news@ilkestonadvertiser or join the debate online on our Facebook page.