Wera Hobhouse led a debate in the House of Commons on Thursday 28th March calling for an end to fracking because of its adverse impact on the environment and its incompatibility with tackling the climate crisis.
“Despite the overwhelming evidence that shows the fracking industry to be dangerous and harmful, Theresa May’s Government have said they want to ‘speed up’ the extraction of shale gas across the UK,” Wera said.
She continued: “Fracking causes massive harm to the immediate environment and our wider countryside, bringing with it the potential threat of earthquakes, water pollution, and green spaces transforming into industrial landscapes. The area around Bath, with its unique and fragile geology, would be particularly susceptible to the risks of fracking.”
“Locally I’m delighted that the Lib Dem manifesto for the B&NES elections in May includes ambitious plans to turn our Council into one of the greenest in the country and a serious contributor to the fight against climate change.”
“The Tories’ approach to fracking is deeply worrying. They are considering deregulating fracking in a way that would give local people no say if fracking wells are planned in their communities.”
“Recent Government consultations looked at giving fracking companies permitted development rights and classifying larger sites under the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Regime. Fracking would become a decision for private companies and the Government – completely by-passing the communities which they will impact. There are active fracking licences in 150 constituencies right now; every one of these would suddenly be at risk of becoming active.”
“Since the Conservative Government announced its proposals on shale gas, 300,000 people have signed petitions against their plans and forty councils have passed motions to reject them. This Government’s laissez-faire attitude towards the rights of local people is worrying, and their similar disregard for the UK’s carbon emissions is downright terrifying.”
“The IPCC report states that globally, we have to become carbon zero by 2050, if we are to limit a global temperature rise by 1.5 degrees. Developed countries like ours obviously need to be even more ambitious. Investing in fracking, which would produce as many CO2 emissions as 300 million new cars, would be a dereliction of our duty to both the international community and generations to come.”
Wera continued: “Whilst Parliament has lost its mind over Brexit, a movement has swept across Europe, through cities and towns, and reached Bath last month. School children are walking out of their classrooms and on to the streets, demanding that governments take action on the climate crisis. Those children feel like our generation of politicians are failing them. Right now there is an opportunity to give them some hope in politics, and some hope for their future. All it takes is the Tories making the right decision.”