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Labour promises to ban fracking if it wins next General Election

Words: Laura Edgar
Fracking / iStock_000022131270

Fracking “locks us into an energy infrastructure based on fossil fuels,” shadow energy secretary Barry Gardiner has argued.

Speaking at the Labour Party Conference today (26 September), Gardiner said Labour would consult with the energy industry and Trade Unions about the best way to transition the industry in order to create the “vital jobs and apprenticeships we are going to need for the UK’s low-carbon future”.

He said there are technical problems with fracking, which give rise to “real environmental dangers”. But technical problems can be overcome and therefore, on their own “they’re not a good enough reason to ban fracking”.

The real reason to ban fracking, Gardiner said, is that it “locks us into an energy infrastructure that is based on fossil fuels long after our country needs to have moved to clean energy”.

He said that clean energy and low carbon technologies represent just 6 per cent of the economy but are “responsible for 30 per cent of its growth”.

The sector has the potential to generate skilled jobs, growth and clean air, Gardiner continued.

The next Labour government will launch a new programme called Repowering Britain. It would aim to build on the “innovation and leadership of 70 Labour councils who have already committed to run their towns on 100 per cent clean energy by 2050”.

“We need to localise the way energy is produced and shared.”

Ken Cronin, chief executive of United Kingdom Onshore Oil and Gas, the onshore oil and gas trade body, said to go for a one size fits all approach to energy will lead to more imports and have a “detrimental” impact on the environment and economy.

“We import over 50 per cent of our gas usage today and that is set to rise to 80 per cent while at the same time 84 per cent of our homes use gas for heating, 61 per cent for cooking, up to 50 per cent our electricity comes from gas and a large number of everyday products use gas as an integral feedstock.

“Imports of gas as liquified natural gas are 15 per cent more carbon intensive than locally produced shale gas. If we want to maintain the right of the general public to access heat and power securely, manage climate change and create UK based jobs then we need to develop renewables, nuclear and natural gas from shale. To go for a narrow one size fits all approach will lead to more imports and a detrimental impact on the environment and economy,” he said.

Tony Bosworth, Friends of the Earth campaigner, said to The Planner: "This is the right thing to do because fracking is fundamentally incompatible with the UK's climate change commitments. The government is increasingly isolated in its zealous determination to impose fracking on communities that don't want it.

“It’s high time to move away from fossil fuels and instead invest in renewable energy”.

Image credit | iStock