Ashworth discusses fracking and renewable energy
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More than 30 MPs and peers are urging the PM to reconsider the extraction of shale gas as ever-increasing energy costs, and a drain in imported supplies into Europe, add to an already dire energy crisis. In a letter to Mr Johnson, the group implores the Prime Minister to “reverse this moratorium” which has seen the mining of shale gas prohibited since 2019.
The call comes as a major shale gas company has been ordered to seal off England’s only two shale gas wells.
Suggesting the British economy could benefit from the extraction of the natural resource, Lord Frost said: “If our economy is to boom after Brexit, British industry needs a competitive and reliable source of energy which we hold in our own hands and brings investment into this country.
“Shale gas production achieves all this and more.
“If we don’t produce it here, as we have seen, all we do is import gas from elsewhere, and push up overall carbon emissions, too.
“So let’s reverse the moratorium on shale gas and let a British energy renaissance begin.”
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Francis Egan, the shale gas firm, Cuadrilla’s chief executive, states: “Using domestic shale gas should be a no-brainer.”
Other prominent MPs have called for Mr Johnson to take action, including a close ally, Jacob Rees-Mogg, recently appointed by the PM as Brexit Opportunities Minister.
However, a Government source said: “The Prime Minister has made clear it is not something we will be reversing.”
Adding to the debate, a Whitehall source said: “Even if new scientific evidence emerged and we lifted the moratorium tomorrow, it would take 10 years before sufficient quantities of gas could be produced for the market.”
But the letter to Mr Johnson, organised by the Net Zero Scrutiny Group, states shale gas mining would be beneficial.
It read: “It would allow us to combat the cost of living crisis, level up, create jobs, opportunity and a renewed sense of community in the north, improve our energy security, reduce our reliance on imported gas, stabilise energy prices and achieve net-zero without increasing the cost of living.”
The group said the Bowland Shale Formation of gas under Lancashire and Yorkshire “offers at least 50 years of cheap and sustainable gas”.
They added: “With the lack of public debate about our strategy to reach net zero, we have abandoned this fundamentally conservative principle… It’s time to reverse this moratorium.”
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The Business Department said: “The development of domestic energy sources, including fracking, must be safe and cause minimal disruption and damage.
“We ended support for fracking on the basis of scientific evidence showing that it is not currently possible to accurately predict the tremors associated with fracking.
“British industry needs a competitive and reliable source of energy which we hold in our own hands’
SHOULD BORIS JOHNSON LIFT THE BAN ON FRACKING? WILL FRACKING ADVERSELY AFFECT THE ENVIRONMENT? SHOULD BRITAIN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SUCH NATURAL RESOURCES? HAVE YOUR SAY AND JOIN THE DEBATE IN OUR COMMENTS SECTION BY CLICKING HERE. EVERY VOICE MATTERS!
Environmental groups also radically oppose the notion of fracking for shale gas.
Frack-Off, a leading campaign group against fracking says: “Because of the much more intense nature of the shale gas extraction process it is associated with much more negative impacts than conventional drilling.
“These include leaking methane, water contamination, air pollution, radioactive contamination, massive industrialisation of the landscape, worsening climate change and earthquakes.
“Severe health effects in people and animals are beginning to mount areas where shale gas extraction is widespread.”
It added: “The shale gas industry leaks large amounts of methane (a very strong greenhouse gas) at all stages of exploration, production and legacy.
“In addition, it makes available fossil fuels that would not otherwise be burnt, significantly worsening climate change.”
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