I watched BBC 1’s Inside Out last Monday and their extended feature on Halite’s plans to build an industrial gas storage facility in Fleetwood and in Over Wyre. As you know, I along with thousands of residents have continued to oppose this project. The producers shot a great deal of footage via drones and it was lovely to see just how beautiful this area is from an aerial perspective – and how shocking it will be for the environment and its inhabitants to have the countryside industrialised in pursuit of profit. It was also shocking that neither Halite not the Environment Agency agreed to be interviewed. Why?
As each day passes our increasing awareness of the environmental damage to our planet makes this gas project seem even more absurd. Last week at our party conference, the Labour Party spent hours discussing our response to the climate crisis and we are united in our commitment to tackling this from day one in Government – when for a start we would ban fracking. We will also drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by investing in new industries, introducing reforms to existing practices to generate economic opportunities – and in particular in areas where old industrial jobs have vanished. We will invest £3.4bn in a national network of electric vehicle charging points to ensure rapid refuelling for long and short journeys. There will also be interest-free loans for electric car buyers, with the aim of electric vehicles making up two-thirds of those on UK roads by 2030. Energy generation is another key target: home insulation and solar panels will be introduced free for more than a million people in low-income and social housing. Labour will renationalise the electricity grid, create a national energy agency with regional agencies taking over the task of delivering energy and balancing demand, while suppliers would remain private. We will also remove planning restrictions that stop onshore windfarms.
Last Monday we heard that Cuadrilla plan to test the flow on a second site at their Preston New Road fracking site. Given that even by their own admission, they won’t be fracking before their planning permission expires at the end of November as they have to comply with the Oil and Gas Authority investigation into the 2.9 earthquake in August, it raises the question why are they still here? They clearly haven’t got the message that they are not welcome in Lancashire and I have no confidence in their ability to frack without causing earthquakes. A Labour government would ban fracking as it is not compatible with meeting the demands of combating catastrophic climate chaos.