Corbyn calls for fracking ban

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn joined anti-fracking protesters in Lancashire as he demanded an immediate ban on the controversial process.

He spoke to around 100 campaigners outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road operation near Blackpool, which has been the centre of long-running protests by environmental groups.

Ahead of the meeting he said: “Instead of bending the knee to a few corporations who profit from extracting fossil fuels from the ground, we need to change course now.”

Labour says if the UK fully exploits its shale gas reserves, the amount of carbon released would “eliminate any hope of the government meeting its 2050 net-zero target”.

The party leader said:  “We need urgent action to tackle the climate emergency, and that means the Prime Minister immediately banning fracking once and for all.”

And he added: “Tackling the climate emergency cannot be left to the free market. Labour will ban fracking and our Green Industrial Revolution will face the climate emergency head-on and leave no community behind, transforming our country’s energy supply and creating 400,000 good, well-paid jobs across the country.”

Cuadrilla has responded to Mr Corbyn’s statement and issued an open invitation to him to visit the site and speak to the local workforce about its business.

Its chief executive Francis Egan has also called on the Labour Party to support a plan to eliminate gas imports into the UK by 2050.

He said: “I am very disappointed that Labour appear to favour continued and increasing levels of gas imports by ship from the Middle East, Africa or the United States or by pipeline from Russia rather than developing a well-regulated job creating UK shale gas industry.

Our Green Industrial Revolution will face the climate emergency head-on and leave no community behind.

“The UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) in its May 2019 report clearly forecast a very significant UK gas demand out to 2050 and beyond – approximately 70 per cent of 2019 gas demand still existing in the year 2050.”

He added: “Under the CCC’s recommended pathway to net zero CO2 this gas would be used as both a feedstock for making hydrogen and a backup supply for generating electricity. Carbon capture and storage would accompany gas usage to ensure net zero CO2 emissions.

“The Labour Party has made it very clear that it opposes UK shale as a supply source for our required natural gas, but appears to have no policy or plan for where the UK’s gas supply should instead come from. We can only assume that it favours continued and increasing long distance gas imports”.

And he went on: “We are strongly opposed to exporting and in effect increasing our CO2 emissions by importing natural gas from further and further afield.

“Unless it has a better pathway to reach net zero CO2 than the Committee on Climate Change we call on the Labour Party to support Cuadrilla in setting a target for net zero imports of natural gas by 2050. 

“By this date UK gas demand should be entirely met by well run, well regulated, job creating UK supply sources including shale gas. Exporting UK emissions and UK jobs should not be a Labour party policy.”

  • For further Lancashire business news, advice and analysis subscribe to Lancashire Business View now from just £2.50 per month. Click here to subscribe now.