MP's praise for Fylde fight against fracking

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The Labour Party’s Shadow business and energy minister visited the site which will  this month see the first onshore UK fracking since 2011 should Wednesday’s temporary High Court injunction be overturned.

Rebecca Long-Bailey said she sympathised with residents near fracking sites for having their “lives being turned upside down” and repeated that Labour would ban fracking if it got into power.

Labour's Rebecca Long-Bailey at the Preston New Road fracking site

Labour's Rebecca Long-Bailey at the Preston New Road fracking site

The MP for Salford and Eccles said she was humbled by the hospitality she found at the Preston New Road site and criticised the Conservative Government for pushing ahead with fracking there despite democratic opposition.

She spoke to campaigners on the roadside, emphasised the need to allow peaceful protest in a democratic society and met residents at nearby Foxwood Chase.

She pointed to Monday’s IPCC report on global warming which warns that Governments must act now to keep global temperature rises to 1.5C or face dangerous rising sea levels. She said: “It is a cruel irony that my visit coincides with the publication of an IPCC report warning of dire consequences if we don’t take action on climate change.

“Even Tory MPs are unhappy about fracking happening in their constituencies and eventually the tide will turn but it won’t turn without groups joining together as they have and making sure it is on the top of the agenda.”

She said Labour thought fracking would not help the nation achieve its climate change commitments and instead they would invest in green energy jobs and skills.

A spokesman for Frack Free Lancashire said “We are grateful to Rebecca for visiting the site again to highlight the issues that face residents living next to the site, and others who are opposing this invasive industry.

“It is great to see a local MP with such passion and commitment, and her encouragement and support means a lot to the local people who brave all weathers to maintain a constant protest at the gates of the Preston New Road Site.”

But a Cuadrilla spokesman said: “Under scenarios where the UK meets every carbon target, we must have gas as part of our energy mix.

“However, due to our domestic North Sea supplies declining, we’ll be importing more and more carbon intensive gas into the UK to meet our demand, whether it’s LNG from Qatar or pipelined gas from Russia.

“Committee on Climate Change analysis and Professors Mackay and Stone note that UK shale gas could offer a 50 per cent production emission saving compared to LNG and long distance pipeline supplies. This is because managing and importing LNG and long distance pipeline gas is a very energy intensive process.”

"By contrast, UK shale gas will be developed using the best available techniques, minimising onsite emissions and demonstrating the excellent environmental performance of our operations.”