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Fracking is back in England – and only the Tories want it


One day soon, in a field by the A583 in sight of Blackpool Tower, fracking for shale gas will resume in the UK. The first attempt to kickstart this dangerous and disruptive industry had to be abruptly halted, after fracking at a nearby site in 2011 by the same company, Cuadrilla, set off earth tremors.

For nearly two years, local people have maintained a round-the-clock vigil on the roadside. Their presence reflects the overwhelming opposition of residents to the forced intrusion of fracking into this green and tranquil corner of Lancashire. Passing motorists toot support.

The people of Lancashire could have been forgiven for thinking that they had seen off the threat of being turned into the UK’s shale gas guinea pigs. In 2015, responding to their well-evidenced concerns, the county council refused permission for Cuadrilla to frack in the very same field, and in the nearby secluded village of Roseacre.

But, taking advantage of planning rules the coalition government had put in place to favour fracking, Cuadrilla appealed. In 2016, Sajid Javid, then communities secretary, duly overturned Lancashire council’s decision. This July, the government gave final consent for Cuadrilla to begin.

The only justification for forcing an industry with no social licence on to a community that finds it repugnant arises when there is an overriding national interest. In the case of fracking, there is no such interest. Quite the contrary. Shale gas does not, as Cuadrilla claims, offer the UK a low-carbon alternative to coal. Long before it will ever flow in significant volumes, coal will have dropped out of our energy system.  Read More


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