Pro-frackers’ vigil signals shale hopes

The Backing Fracking event at Blackpool Tower
The Backing Fracking event at Blackpool Tower

Campaigners who want to see a shale gas industry developed on the Fylde coast held a candle lit vigil at Blackpool Tower.

They said they were highlighting the ‘loss of Lancashire’s pioneering spirit’ after Lancashire County Council’s refusal of planning permission for test fracking at Little Plumpton near Preston New Road and Roaseacre.

Seasoned environmental campaigner and former Greenpeace boss, Stephen Tindale, addressed the gathering and told them that shale gas could help to tackle climate change.

Standing below the iconic Tower, with placards and banners sporting pro-fracking slogans, 40-50 local shale gas supporters marked the loss of the pioneering spirit that first brought gas lighting and power to Lancashire 200 years ago.

They said they were frustrated that local decision-makers appear to be squandering the opportunity to now lead the shale gas revolution.

Organised by Backing Fracking, the event was attended by members of Blackpool Fracking for a Better Future and also joined by a small delegation of supporters that travelled across from North Yorkshire.

Stephen Tindale said: “The first thing I want to say is that it’s part of the solution to climate change. It’s not ‘the’ solution, but I think we need to get away from technology tribalism, which is a problem the whole of the ‘green’ movement suffers with. We need to take achievable steps if we want to get to renewables. We can’t just wave a wand and say we’re going to be there tomorrow.

“Gas is the greenest fossil fuel. It’s less damaging than coal - it’s less damaging for the climate and it’s less damagingfor air pollution.”

Stephen also said that UK shale gas must be part of the gas mix, and that it’s better for the climate than Liquefied Natural Gas imported from places such as Qatar.

Ellie Rylands from Backing Fracking, and a geoscience graduate, said: “If it can be extracted, shale gas could play an important role in reducing expensive imports of foreign gas and at the same time create lots of well paying, skilled jobs in parts of the country that could really benefit from them.”