Climate campaigners slam lifting of fracking ban

"Whatever the question, fracking is not the answer"

Anti fracking protesters

Liz Truss announced today that the government plans to lift the ban on fracking. Fracking is a controversial method of gas extraction which uses pressurised liquid to release gas from rock layers underground.

The move has been met with dismay and outrage from climate campaigners.

Georgia Whitaker, oil and gas campaigner at Greenpeace UK accused the government of using fracking as “an attempt to distract” from the energy crisis. She said, “Proposing fracking is less a solution to the UK’s energy issues and more of an attempt to distract us from them. It will not lower bills. It will not make us less dependent on volatile gas markets. It will not reduce our carbon emissions. It may well not work at all because the UK does not have the vast empty expanses of the USA.

“Before the fracking moratorium, the industry had ten years of the government ‘going all out for shale’ and giving them all the support denied to onshore wind. In that time, the frackers produced no energy for the UK, but managed to create two holes in a muddy field, traffic, noise, earthquakes and enormous controversy. 

“The manifesto promise on which this government was elected was that fracking would not happen unless the science changed, which it most emphatically has not. Communities who have this nonsense inflicted on them in the name of an out-of-date ideology will be wondering who their elected representatives are really representing.”

These sentiments have been echoed by prominent figures from the left of politics.

Speaking to Times Radio this morning, Labour’s shadow secretary of state for climate change and net zero Ed Miliband said of the plans to end the ban on fracking, “That’s not a solution to this problem. Because fracking, the fracked gas, even if it isn’t dangerous, will cost exactly the same as the gas we’re currently importing. There’s only one way out of this, which is renewables, nuclear, offshore wind, onshore wind, solar”.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham put it more succinctly. He tweeted, “Whatever the question, fracking is not the answer.”

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas described the move as “a massive kick in the teeth”. She tweeted, “A massive kick in the teeth for vast majority of communities who don’t want #fracking, a disaster for #climate policy, & a measure that will make absolutely zero difference to the cost of energy bills. Performative politics at its worst”.

And leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron tweeted, “Hmmm. Solar panels = bad. Fracking = good. Brilliant. Culture war turns otherwise intelligent people into absolute berks”.

Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward

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