A future Labour government would ban fracking in England.
The UK opposition party promised to ban hydraulic fracturing for shale gas if it wins the next general election, according to its energy secretary Barry Gardiner
Gardiner said that fracking, which involves gas being extracted from shale rock, would make the UK dependent on fossil fuels when the priority should be clean energy.
His pledge to ban fracking was welcomed by environmental campaigners but was described as “madness” by the GMB union.
The Guardian reports:
Speaking at the Labour conference in Liverpool, shadow energy and climate secretary Barry Gardiner is to announce the party will be going further than its previous policy of a moratorium until environment conditions are met.
The stance leaves the party even more strongly opposed to fracking than the Scottish government, which has a moratorium in place until the impacts of hydraulic fracturing are researched further. The Welsh government opposes fracking and has instructed local authorities to turn down applications.
Gardiner will tell delegates: “Today I am announcing that the next Labour government will ban fracking in the UK. Fracking locks us into an energy infrastructure that is based on fossil fuels long after our country needs to have moved to renewables. The next Labour government will back the clean technologies of the future.”
The Liberal Democrats welcomed Labour in joining them in supporting a ban on fracking. ““I hope these are not just empty words and they will join Liberal Democrats in actively opposing the Tory plans to ruin our countryside,” said Lynne Featherstone, the party’s energy and climate spokesperson.
The Green party said the onus was now on Labour politicians to oppose fracking plans at a local level.
Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the party, said: “Labour’s commitment to a fracking ban is extremely welcome. Not only does fracking pose risks to local communities, but drilling for gas under our countryside risks undermining our climate change commitments too.”
Hannah Martin, energy campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “With opposition to fracking an all-time high across the country, this ban on an unproven and inexperienced industry will be widely welcomed.”
The industry has confirmed no shale gas wells will be drilled in Britain this year, as a key fracking decision nears.