The shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary confirmed this morning that the next Labour government would ban fracking.
Barry Gardiner told delegates at the Labour conference in Liverpool:
“Today I am announcing that a future Labour Government will ban fracking”
“There are technical problems with fracking. And they give rise to real environmental dangers.
“But technical problems can be overcome. So on their own they’re not a good enough reason to ban fracking.
“The real reason to ban fracking is that it locks us into an energy infrastructure that is based on fossil fuels long after our country needs to have moved to clean energy.”
The new policy goes beyond Labour’s previous support for a moratorium on fracking until environmental conditions were met. It comes just days before a government announcement is expected on whether Cuadrilla should be allowed to frack at two sites in Lancashire.
Mr Gardiner said this morning that a future Labour government would concentrate on developing a low-carbon energy industry.
“We will consult with our colleagues in industry and the Trade Unions about the best way to transition our energy industry to create the vital jobs and apprenticeships we are going to need for the UK’s low-‐carbon future.”
- See the end of this post for an extract of Mr Gardiner’s speech dealing with fracking
Caroline Flint, former Shadow Energy Secretary
“80% of our heating is derived from gas. We have been a net importer of gas for decades now. If you’re going to say ban an energy source you have got to fill it with something else and we can’t just be against things, we have to explain what our policy is and what we stand for when it comes to energy. How do we replenish the gas we’ve got, which we’re importing, which leaves us hostage to volatile gas markets around the world and the costs being put up. We have to have policies that make common sense and address the issues of energy security and keeping the lights on and keeping our houses warm.” Source: Sky News
Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party
“Labour’s commitment to a fracking ban is extremely welcome. Not only does fracking pose risks to local communities, but drilling for gas under our countryside risks undermining our climate change commitments too.” Source: The Guardian
Hannah Martin, energy campaigner at Greenpeace UK
“With opposition to fracking an all-time high across the country, this ban on an unproven and inexperienced industry will be widely welcomed.”
Jesse Norman, Minister for Industry and Energy
“As Labour themselves have said, the safe development of shale can create jobs and improve our energy security – that’s why the Government supports shale and will ensure local residents benefit from the proceeds.
‘Labour are totally divided over how to provide the energy our country needs, and even Labour-supporting unions say their plans ‘will not keep the lights on.’
‘Labour are not a credible alternative government and they have nothing to offer as we work to build a country that works for everyone.’ Source: The Mail
Gary Smith, GMB Scotland secretary
“Britain needs gas. The first fracked gas from America arrives tomorrow at Grangemouth.Carting gas across oceans is not good from the environment and not good for security of supply in the UK.
“Given we will need gas to heat our homes and power industry, the question is therefore where are we going to get our gas from.
“We are increasingly going to be dependent on regimes fronted by henchmen, hangmen and head-choppers for the gas we need.
“That isn’t ethical and is surely an abdication of our environmental and moral responsibilities.” Source: Politics Home
Francis Egan, Chief Executive Officer, Cuadrilla
“We are disappointed that Labour has reversed the positive view of shale gas it has held to date, without a proper Party debate. This runs contrary to the views of many of Unions and Labour MPs who understand that it will play a vital role in ensuring Britain’s energy security for 80% of UK homes that rely on gas for heating and cooking and create much needed jobs and investment in Lancashire and across the UK.”
Frack Free South Yorkshire
“Frack Free South Yorkshire welcomes The Labour Party pledge to ban fracking. The United Kingdom already uses less gas year on year thanks to increased insulation, energy efficiency and renewable energy. This downward trend can be accelerated by using more safe, non-polluting renewable energy to reduce our dependency on imported gas, keep our energy bills down, keep the lights on, and create hundreds of thousands of long-term sustainable jobs. The world has to reduce its use of fossil fuels and the Labour Party pledge is another important step forwards.”
No Fracking in Balcombe Society
We are delighted that Labour has finally gone ‘Full Monty’ and opposed fracking. Barry Gardiner is right in saying that fracked gas is unacceptable in terms of climate change.
There is so much that he had no time to mention. Useful volumes of fracked gas would require wells ‘back to back’ across large swathes of the Bristish Isles – a sacrifice the Tory government seems keen to pursue. It would create vast quantities of waste, and no one has a viable plan for its treatment or disposal.
There are technical problems that cannot be resolved, such as the toxic pollution from flares, underground migration of liquids and gases, and the inevitable ultimate crumbling and corrosion and leaking of wells. And ‘side issues’, such as accidents and spills, and the terrible waste of that rare kind of sand.
We hope the GMB is studying the effects of fracking on workers’ health in America, Australia and elsewhere. And we hope that one day soon Labour will also come out over the sister issues of acidisation, coal bed methane and underground coal gasification. In the meantime three cheers for Labour (and the Lib Dems and of course the Greens) for facing the facts and supporting the majority of the British public who oppose fracking!
Peter Allen, Frack Free Ryedale
“We are pleased to see that mainstream political opinion is now aligning itself with the views of the Great British public, who are overwhelmingly opposed to fracking. The Labour Party now joins the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party in calling for a ban on this unwanted, unnecessary and unsafe industry, and pro-fracking councillors will now be wondering if they can hang on to their seats in next year’s council elections, particularly in areas threatened by fracking.”
Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of the industry body UK Onshore Oil and Gas
“We import over 50 percent of our gas usage today and that is set to rise to 80 percent, while at the same time 84 percent of our homes use gas for heating, 61 percent for cooking, up to 50 percent of our electricity comes from gas and a large number of everyday products use gas as an integral feedstock.
“Imports of gas as LNG [liquefied natural gas] are 15-percent more carbon intensive than locally-produced shale gas. If we want to maintain the right of the general public to access heat and power securely, manage climate change and create UK-based jobs, then we need to develop renewables, nuclear and natural gas from shale. To go for a narrow one size fits all approach will lead to more imports and a detrimental impact on the environment and economy.” Source: Rigzone
Extract from Barry Gardiner’s speech
“Last year they [the government] cut support for solar and their own figures show deployment has fallen by 93 per cent, losing 12,000 jobs..
They’ve walked away from onshore wind, attacked biomass tariffs without consultation and scrapped two world leading carbon capture and storage projects at the last minute
In fairness; not everything has been cut. Before he was sacked, George Osborne managed to pass what he proudly referred to as “the most generous tax regime for Shale gas anywhere in the world”.
Well that will change under Labour.
You see, there are technical problems with fracking. And they give rise to real environmental dangers.
But technical problems can be overcome. So on their own they’re not a good enough reason to ban fracking.
The real reason to ban fracking is that it locks us into an energy infrastructure that is based on fossil fuels long after our country needs to have moved to clean energy.
So today I am announcing that a future Labour Government will ban fracking.
And we will consult with our colleagues in industry and the Trade Unions about the best way to transition our energy industry to create the vital jobs and apprenticeships we are going to need for the UK’s low-‐carbon future.
Energy is the cornerstone of our industry, our economy and our daily lives.
Clean energy and low carbon technologies now employ more people in the UK than the entire teaching profession.
They represent just six per cent of our economy but are responsible for 30 per cent of its growth.
We must unlock the full potential of this sector. It means skilled jobs, it means growth, it means clean air and a healthy secure future for our children.
Britain is at the beginning of an incredible transformation of our energy system. The next Labour Government will launch a new programme called Repowering Britain that puts you in control.
It will build on the innovation and leadership of 70 Labour Councils who have already committed to run their towns on 100 per cent clean energy by 2050.
We need to localise the way energy is produced and stored. I want people earning from the energy they produce on their rooftop solar or their community wind turbines, not just consuming what the Big Six sell.
We need to create smart networks and local grids to make energy work to pay people rather than people working to pay their energy bills.
How can it be right that when the government found out that we were being overcharged by £1.4bn a year on our energy bills they said “It’s all the customers fault – we should shop around more!”
Well we do. We need to shop around for a new government.
Updated 27/9/2016 with reaction from Ken Cronin, UK Onshore Oil and Gas