Corby to be a tar sands free zone

Corby councillor Chris Stanbra supports the ban on tar sands in the borough
Corby councillor Chris Stanbra supports the ban on tar sands in the borough

Corby councillors have taken a stand for the environment and declared the borough a tar sands free zone.

They have voted to reject tar sands as an acceptable source of liquid fuel and have agreed that it will never be bought as part of the fuel mix for the council’s vehicle and plant fleet.

The proposal, put forward by Cllr Bob Riley and seconded by Cllr Mary Butcher, was agreed at a full meeting of the council on Thursday (September 19).

In the summer Oxford became the first place in Europe to become a tar free zone after the city council voted in favour of a similar motion.

Canada’s tar sands is the biggest energy project in the world, with millions of barrels already extracted from the Canadian wilderness, decimating the landscape and producing more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil extraction.

Tar sands oil hasn’t yet arrived in the UK in significant quantities but its large-scale import is expected as Canada tries to find new markets.

Cllr Rob McKellar was sceptical about the council’s actions.

He said: “This is a noble cause but what jurisdiction do we have over the extraction of tar sands in Canada. It’s a bit like the sixth-former who thinks he has all the answers to the world’s problems.

“What will we achieve by this other than making us look a bit daft as a council.”

Other councillors disagreed.

Cllr Chris Stanbra said: “The answer to people who might say what has this to do with us is, we are taking a lead.”

Council leader Tom Beattie said: “Of course we are not going to influence the Canadian government but we are making a decision on procurement policy and saying that when it comes to the UK this fuel won’t be used here.”

Cllr Sean Kettle added: “Sometimes, as a council, we have to look beyond the boundaries of Corby. By supporting this proposal we are reinforcing Corby’s environmentalist credentials.”