As the government prepares to announce its energy security strategy, campaigners came to Blackpool to voice the arguments about the future of fracking.
The town, which has seen the only onshore high volume hydraulic fracturing in England, hosted the Conservative spring conference, attracting both sides of the fracking debate.
Fracking-induced earthquakes at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site near Blackpool in 2018 and 2019 led to a moratorium on fracking, which still remains in place nearly two and a half years later.
On the conference eve, the Net Zero Support Group of MPs described fracking as an “industry of the past” and said the UK could not afford to “bear any further costs of creating stranded assets for UK taxpayers”.
As the conference got underway, anti-fracking campaigners from across England demonstrated outside. A member of Frack Free Lancashire said:
“We went to make sure the government and industry heard us loud and clear. We will resist all attempts to try and reinstate fracking.
“Nothing has changed. It is still unsafe, unsustainable and unsupported.”
Inside the conference, pro-fracking campaigner, Lorraine Allanson, from North Yorkshire, described shale gas as “a rich treasure trove” and “an essential industry” that the UK could, and should, develop.
She said the freedom to develop a shale gas industry was what levelling up looked like in the north of England.