Time for Government to support clean and green energy

Date: Tuesday 10th October 2017

Sir, Congratulations to the Scottish Government which this week banned fracking. This move came after a consultation that revealed overwhelming public opposition and little economic justification for the industry.

The Scottish energy minister stated that to allow fracking would undermine the Government’s determination to deeply cut Scottish carbon emissions and would lead to unjustifiable environmental damage. And the move follows similar bans already introduced in Wales and Northern Ireland.

This unconventional extraction of gas involves injecting pressurised fracking fluids deep into the shale to force the gas out. The UK energy minister overturned Lancashire County Council’s opposition to the application by Cuadrilla for a fracking development at Preston New Road on the Fylde. Drilling at the site has now commenced, despite determined and sustained protests from the local community, environmental organisations, faith groups and unions.

Similar opposition is being voiced at the fracking site at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire. All are united in the view that fracking presents an unacceptable risk of pollution to the ground and water, and the gas extracted will only add to the burden of carbon that already threatens the stability of our climate.

So why is the UK Government stubbornly continuing to support fracking in England? The standard justification is economic gain and jobs. Both of course are important, but not at any cost. And how will the potential revenue from shale gas square up to the costs we are bearing from increasingly frequent and damaging floods and storms — both in monetary and personal terms?

We look on aghast at the Trump administration’s denial of climate change, in the face of the devastation caused by unprecedented hurricanes, floods (and in the US, also fires). But frankly, our government is little better. The UK has a wealth of renewable energy sources that can now produce electricity more cheaply than new nuclear — and provide plenty of jobs. We also have the technology to ensure the power is available when it is needed.

So isn’t it time that this Government supports clean and green energy sources, leaves filthy fossil fuels in the ground, and consigns costly and risky nuclear power to history. Yours etc,

ALI ROSS, DICK O’BRIAN, DOUG LAWSON, PETER ROWAN and WADE TIDBURY

(Penrith and Eden Green Party)

by e-mail.