The debate around the UK’s fledgling fracking industry is once again raging today as planning inspectors begin to hear Cuadrilla’s appeal against the rejection of its plans for exploratory drilling in West Lancashire.
The industry was dealt a major blow last June, when Lancashire council voted against Cuadrilla’s bid to drill for shale gas. But the council’s resolve is now under threat as a public inquiry could see the its decision overruled.
And as dirty energy companies find themselves falling victim to a volatile market, with prospects looking increasingly bleak, the UK government’s continued pursuit of fracking at all costs would also see the country locked into risky fossil fuels at a time when much of the world is already transitioning towards a 100 per cent renewable future.
- The UK government will go to extreme measures to secure its fracking frenzy. A leaked letter from ministers has revealed plans to ensure nature laws do not obstruct the rise of shale exploration and to take planning decisions on wells out of the hands of councils; forcing through fracking decisions despite local opposition. Lancashire could be the first place where such an over-ruling could take place.
- Local opposition to fracking is formidable, and so is support for renewables. Opposition to fracking continues to outstrip support,according to the government’s latest attitudes survey, and the greater people understand the controversial process the less they like it. Meanwhile 78 per cent of the public are in favour of renewables, such as wind and solar, with just four per cent showing opposition.
- There is no space for shale in a fossil free future. The UK has a legally binding commitment to cut emissions 80 per cent by 2050, and last year joined nearly 200 other countries in pledging to phase out fossil fuels. With renewables booming globally, and bringing economic, climate and health benefits with it, there’s no justification for pursuing a fracking industry that would lock the UK into fossil fuels for years to come.