This Government is fracking us

20 August 2015

This Government is fracking us

The Government is promoting the hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – for shale gas with claims of greater energy independence, UK investment, job creation, as well as lower carbon emissions and energy prices.

However, none of this is guaranteed. Not only has the Committee on Climate Change, a body which advises the Government on climate matters, said that the UK cannot pursue shale gas on the scale that is proposed and still meet its 2050 carbon targets, but even fracking company Cuadrilla disputes claims of lower energy prices.

What is guaranteed is not only a continued contribution to climate change, but also the risk of methane leakage from gas wells, as well as increased local water and air pollution.

None of this seems to worry our Conservative government in its ‘dash-for-gas’ though, and instead appears keen to fast-track fracking. Indeed, by declaring last week that it will ‘step in’ if local authorities are deemed to take “too long” over fracking applications, it is clear that the Government is even prepared to subvert local democracy to ensure that it gets the fracking regime it wants.

It seems that the government feels that it is fine, even appropriate, for local communities to object to projects like wind or solar farms, but any opposition to fracking is simply not on.

Not only is such a stance environmentally regressive, but selectively riding roughshod over local opinion in this way makes a mockery of Government claims of promoting ‘localism’.

Add withering reductions to renewables subsidies and increases to subsidies/tax breaks for fracking, and it is clear that this Conservative administration can justifiably lay claim to being the ‘Greenest Government Never’.