The Government’s offer of extra revenue from business rates in return for agreement in principle to fracking being allowed within their authority areas has had a cool reception from B&NES who see it as a threat to Bath’s historic supply of thermal water.
Councillor Paul Crossley, Leader of Council, said, “Whilst the Council is yet to assess the full detail of the Government’s proposal, our prime concern remains retaining the integrity of the natural hot springs. We have obtained the very best expert advice on this matter and there is little to suggest otherwise than there is a potential for damage to the deep water sources that supply the springs in Bath.
The process of fracking in the region could result in the water courses leading to the natural hot springs being contaminated from this process, or for the waters to adopt a different direction of travel through new fractures in the underlying rocks.
The hot springs are a crucial part of the tourist attraction that sustains thousands of jobs in the city and generates millions of pounds for the local economy.
The loss of these would be catastrophic having far-reaching effects for the overall offer of the West of England area. In short, we would not take any short-term Business rate gain at the expense of the Springs.
The springs are a fundamental and unique element of Bath’s heritage, as a signatory to the 1971 UNESCO World Heritage Convention, the UK Government has committed to ‘identify, protect, conserve, present and transmit’ such places to future generations.
We trust that the Government will continue to retain its overall commitment to this.”