Labour leader joins Lancashire campaigners to demand ban on fracking

pnr 190730 Jeremy Corbyn Refracktion1

Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, 30 July 2019. Photo: Refracktion

Jeremy Corbyn met campaigners outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site near Blackpool this afternoon and repeated his call on the government to ban fracking.

About 100 people braved torrential rain outside the Preston New Road site to talk to the Labour leader over tea and to listen to a short speech.

Earlier, Labour had released analysis which, it said, showed that fracking would stop the UK reaching a net zero target for carbon emissions by 2050, pushing the goal back by decades.

Mr Corbyn accused the new prime minister, Boris Johnson, of “bending the knee” to companies who wanted to profit from fossil fuel extraction and urged him to “change course”. He said:

“We need urgent action to tackle the climate emergency, and that means the prime minister immediately banning fracking once and for all.”

This afternoon, Mr Corbyn told anti-fracking campaigners:

“I want to see a green industrial revolution in Britain.

“I want to see sustainability. We cannot go on with this level of CO2 emissions and global warming, otherwise we are all damaged if not doomed.

“A green industrial revolution will create around 400,000 jobs, high-skilled, good quality, well-paid jobs, all around the country.

“That is a future for our children.

“We have a short window, as a people, to reduce CO2 emissions, to prevent global warming beyond 1.5C, in order to protect the planet.

“I want to say well done everyone in Lancashire that opposed fracking here, as in Derbyshire and other places, in Sussex, and the way in which you have made sure the issue is kept alive.”


Mr Corbyn said Lancashire County Council had done “its best” in refusing planning permission for drilling and fracking at the Preston New Road site. But he said the then local government secretary, Sajid Javid, had intervened and overturned the refusal.

To cheers, Mr Corbyn said

“Well a Labour government would intervene again and we would ban fracking all across the UK.”

This morning, Cuadrilla invited Mr Corbyn to visit Preston New Road and meet members of staff. Mr Corbyn responded:

“I’m here to announce our support for ending fracking, but I’m happy to talk to them because I do believe what they are doing is dangerous to our environment.”

Cuadrilla later tweeted at the Labour leader “left without taking up our offer of an on-site brew with some local people”.

In a statement, Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, said:

“I am very disappointed that Labour appear to favour continued and increasing levels of gas imports by ship from the Middle East, Africa or the United States or by pipeline from Russia rather than developing a well-regulated job creating UK shale gas industry.

“The UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) in its May 2019 report clearly forecast a very significant UK gas demand out to 2050 and beyond – approximately 70% of 2019 gas demand still existing in the year 2050.

“Under the CCC’s recommended pathway to net zero CO2 this gas would be used as both a feedstock for making hydrogen and a backup supply for generating electricity. Carbon Capture and Storage would accompany gas usage to ensure net zero CO2 emissions.

“The Labour Party has made it very clear that it opposes UK shale as a supply source for our required natural gas, but appears to have no policy or plan for where the UK’s gas supply should instead come from. We can only assume that it favours continued and increasing long distance gas imports.”

Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of the industry organisation, UK Onshore Oil and Gas, said:

“Labour seems to want it both ways – no shale gas but no offshoring of emissions.

“But these are mutually exclusive propositions and Labour’s denial of the facts about home-grown UK production will only lead to us relying more and more on higher emission imports from Qatar and Russia.

“Leading independent climate change experts are clear- we will need natural gas well beyond 2050 to deliver Net Zero. Labour should be supporting the UK gas industry to create UK jobs as we work towards meeting our emissions targets.”

Mr Cronin’s statement was disputed by Steve Mason, of the climate change solutions company, Environmental Smart.

He said that, even with the Bacton pipeline for European imports under maintenance, the figure seemed implausible.

“Since March, Norway has reduced its overall gas shipments by about 16 percent for pipeline maintenance, cutting flows into the UK’s key Easington terminal by more than 80 percent.

“Meanwhile, the main UK export route, the Interconnector pipeline between England and Belgium, closed for repairs last weekend until May 1, cutting off a key transit route for flows into mainland Europe.”

Alun Davies, director of Europe power and gas at IHS Markit, has commented that April appeared to be a record high month for the import of LNG into the UK and added that with the Interconnector being offline, the U.K. market had no way of sending gas back to the continent via pipeline.

Steve Mason said:

“I am questioning UKOOG’s seeking to forward their case based on temporary maintenance measures that will ensure we have natural gas supplies from lower emission sources for decades.”


38 replies »

    • Seeing as Mr Egan and Mr Cronin didn’t mention our mighty North sea industry and that the bulk of our imports are piped from Norway it is no wonder he didn’t want to talk to them. They don’t seem to even understand how the UK energy system works.

    • Barry Gardiner announced some years ago that Labour would end fracking and later confirmed the ban would apply to Weald oil sites as well.

      He did that to put the prospectors and their backers on warning that they will be stuck with stranded assets if Labour comes to power.

      As none of the other opposition parties support fracking you can take it that any progressive alliance in the event of a hung parliament would also see an end to this expensive and highly damaging industry.

      The question is, how long can a far right faction of the Tory party led by Johnson hold on power?

      Because that’s how long you’ve got.

  1. [Edited by moderator]
    Only reason Cameron, Trump and Johnson support fossil fuels industry is their own continuation of power and very short term financial gain! Won’t do them or their families any good when there are worldwide food and water shortages due to the avoidable onset of climate change!
    do your own research!
    By the way, why do you post on this topic, do you live on the Fylde, are you a Labour party supporter [edited by moderator]

    • Peter – [Edited by moderator]. The only thing you can seem to say is “climate distraction” as if that is an argument in its own right. I can see how you would fit within a Labour Party run by corbyn.

    • Peter yourself as an ex British Aerospace employee who welcomes their activities on the Fylde Coast, I wonder if you would be quite as forthcoming with your comments if Jeremy Corbyn would have swung by Warton a couple of miles away from the PNR site to demonstrate his anti opinions to this industry???

      • Kisheny?, Peter: ah Peter is involved in the British Aerospace industry, that industry which has a direct correlation and collaboration with the oil and gas industry!

        Well i suppose it uses their vast array of products, i did wonder the credibility and trust in peter’s voices of opinion! Or is he a naturalised NIMBY. Happy to enjoy the trappings of energy consumption and excess of as long as personally is not subjected to the outcome! Highly selfish if you ask me, i live in direct route to a very popular UK hub and have planes flying over head constantly through out the morning, day and night! Do i protest airline, do i hell! I use it constantly for business travel, and i assure you we will be using aviation for travel way after 2050!

  2. Bonkers or vested interests? I’m with Greta all the way, fracking is madness. You do know it is not just water being pumped underground, but a number of chemicals, some undisclosed. It is short term, we need to invest in green sustainable energy and be self sufficient!

    • Lisette – maybe you could enlighten everyone and give us a reference to all of those toxic chemicals that are going to be put into fracking fluids in the UK. I won’t hold my breath.

    • Lisette: Do you mean self sufficient, home produced, readily available, significantly lower GHG of all hydrocarbons. It just requires to be supported by the UK government as a primary source to transition to a more sustainable energy beyond 2050.

    • That’s great Lisette! So, you worry that UK is operating creative carbon accounting, as she does?

      Therefore, instead of just transferring our carbon footprint overseas, like some Colonial throwback, we take responsibility to managing it properly and more efficiently in the UK, whilst we move forward to alternative solutions.

      (The difference now Lisette, is we do not “pay” with beads but hard cash which INCLUDES the bit for those countries tax to spend on whatever they wish-usually armaments, walls, or other “goodies”-that we could keep in UK to pay for Social Care, NHS, Welfare etc.)

      Yep. Makes sense.

  3. Well, reaction, your photo’ library is becoming quite extensive. Ladies undies upon a fence to a wizened dinosaur by a gate!

    Can’t wait for the exhibition. Will it be “diminishing support for, oops”!?

    • Martin. You really do seem to be obsessed by those ladies’ undies which were displayed for a short time on the fence. As you know, they were part of a demonstration of the harm fracking has been shown to cause to womens’ health and the fact that Breast Cancer charities are opposed to fracking, but don’t let that get in the way of a cheap jibe.

  4. De-Straction/ Refraction: john were you the photographer for the day, do you conduct civil partnership photoshoots too? Its a shame our democratic socialist leader of the opposition didn’t what to take up Cuadrilla’s offer of a brew, i though corbyn would learn something new. It does say much, even now Alistair Campbell is denouncing his membership of the labour party!
    Corbyn’s policies are a joke, he’ll need Cuadrilla’s profits and taxes to make up for the money tree he has fabricated in his manifesto…

  5. Politicians in government have a lot of power in this industry, Gove shut down the proposed Leith Hill operation for his own reasons. Leave it in the ground for the sake of the human race and all other creatures.

    • “Leave it in the ground” – a phrase that is never followed up with any realistic plan to how that is going to be achieved taking into account the intermittent nature of renewables and the lack of realisable energy storage

      • “The North sea is in decline” a phrase that the pro frackers use to try and quickly avoid talking about the fact that the North sea has huge proven reserves, an experienced work force of over 350,000 and the ability to supply the UK with cheap homegrown gas for the next 20 years and maintain a healthy export market.

        • I’m in the North sea now John. All the majors are getting out.
          Norwegians are cultivating their assets as usual making huge profits selling Gas to the UK.
          Don’t pin your thesis on Shetland fields, deep water and small weather windows.
          Back on Offshore Wind turbines next year which will cost the UK consumer both in intermitency and cost highlighted recently by the Telegraph article. But if that’s what you want, so be it…
          So John as I have spent many years working in the North Sea please enlighten the board with your knowledge of the many hours you have spent googling …

        • John Powney,
          I’ve worked for most of the companies operating in the North Sea and I can assure you that it is very much in decline. Most of the majors are out and the main ones who are left are better adapted at cost cutting. I really wish that wasn’t the case as I make loads of money working for companies who exploit conventional reserves but nothing from those who are into shale

        • jp: i have worked in the North Sea oil and has industry for over 30 years, offshore experience of over 15 years, i have degrees in environmental science & oil and gas well engineering management. The major operators are getting out of an extremely mature industry, and these are being acquired by cost conscience VC backed smaller operators, ahem but the 350,000 work force?, this hasn’t been the case in the last 5 years. Cheap homegrown gas?, having worked in the NS for many years there is a small weather window for available operations, you don’t want to be doing drilling, intervention and well work in the high of winter! Export of gas the United Kingdom exported one of the highest net deficits of 2018:
          Minus -$10.7 billion ( deficit of 35.7%) compared to many other years. Hence the UK is in decline, new sources of gas have to be found!

  6. No, not state John, speculate is the word you are looking for.

    Too early to state what production costs will be, before there is production. Pretty basic stuff.

  7. ‘Too early to state what production costs will be’

    Incorrect. Some have already done the maths. Pretty basic stuff to understand.

    Statement from our largest gas importer on the viability of UK shale,

    “We had a look at the UK sometime back as part of a global survey with Chesapeake, of the US, but we decided against going into the UK”

    “For us, it’s much more cost efficient, at least based on our own calculations, to develop offshore fields, our offshore Norway assets, and bring that gas into the UK by pipeline.”


  8. No, they have not done the maths., they have estimated and speculated and made their own calculations based upon no idea of UK production costs -which are impossible without UK production rates. So, have then decided much easier and more secure to work from solid ground of known existing costs for established assets. Quite understandable and pretty basic stuff to understand. You may get the hang of it, one day.

    Many did exactly the same regarding US shale, missed out, and are now having to pay the high price of buying in. Remember that? US shale stood no chance of being economic because outside suppliers had “decided” it would not be, and that, in the event that it took a foothold, they would use the strength of OPEC to undercut. How did that go?

    Oh yes:

    “US set to eclipse Saudi Arabia as world’s biggest oil exporter.”

    Of course, UK would not be anywhere near that scale, but what is pretty obvious is oil/gas companies make their own decisions for their own reasons. Many are made that turn out to be incorrect, but globally, make little difference to them whilst they have other options. To somehow then take such decisions as a doctrine of future market economics is obviously daft, and proven so. But understandable that such nonsense continues to be proposed by the antis. What else is there?

    • Interesting Martin, Also the exacts take were when the USA started prospecting Shale Gas onshore, because the technology was ripe at the time and seismic indicated large quantities of unconventional hydrocarbons and the USA found too much, hence the decline in household gas prices. Shale Gas UK come on!

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