The prime minister repeatedly said fracking must be with local consent when she was interviewed about fracking this morning by BBC Radio Lancashire. But she refused to rule it out in the county.
In five minutes of the interview with Graham Liver, Liz Truss:
- Referred 10 times to the need for local consent for fracking operations
- Said the government was exploring where there was and wasn’t local consent for fracking
- Admitted she had not been to Preston New Road, where fracking by Cuadrilla caused earthquakes, including one measuring 2.9ML
- Said she would not have described opposition to fracking as “Luddites” with an “air of hysteria”, as the business secretary had in parliament
Here’s a transcript of the part of the interview about fracking. You can also hear it on YouTube.
Graham Liver, presenter, BBC Radio Lancashire
“Lots to talk about and I want to keep it local and I want to talk about fracking. Let’s talk about fracking. We’re the only area of the country that’s actually done it. And it caused earthquakes. People’s houses shook. Why do you think it is safe to continue because none of the science has changed.”
Liz Truss, prime minister
“Well what I want to be clear about is we will only press ahead with fracking in areas where there is local community support for that. The business secretary has been very clear about that. Now fracking is carried out perfectly safely in various parts of the world and the business secretary will make sure that any fracking that takes places is safe. But it is very important for me as prime minister that any fracking has local community consent.
“I think we have to be clear about why we’re doing this. One thing that has happened is that the UK has become dependent on global energy prices and we’ve seen through Vladimir Putin’s appalling war in Ukraine how energy prices have shot up and Russia has used the fact that it produces gas as a way of exerting pressure on other countries and we simply don’t want to be in that position.
“So what I want to see is more home-grown energy in the UK. And that means using resources in the North Sea. It means more renewables, it means more nuclear and it also means fracking in areas where there is local support.”
“You mentioned Jacob Rees-Mogg. In the House of Commons, he called people who didn’t support fracking Luddites and said there was an air of hysteria about them. Do you agree with his comments?”
“I wouldn’t have expressed it like that, I can assure you. I am, I am of the view that we need to have local consent to proceed with projects like fracking. I also support that for housing. What I want is – and this is why we are setting up new investment zones across the country with local support to get the economy going, to get investment into our country and the same is true for energy projects as well.”
“Let’s talk about local consent right now. What does that look like? Scott Benton, the Conservative MP for Blackpool South in a tweet says he believes that people in Blackpool South do not support fracking.
“This is the Tory MP for Fylde, Mark Menzies in the House of Commons:
‘If the Prime Minister is to remain a woman of her word, and a woman in whom we can believe—and I believe she is—can the Secretary of State outline how that local consent will be given and demonstrated in my constituency of Fylde?’
“What does local consent look like prime minister?”
“Well, the, the, the energy secretary will be laying out in more detail exactly what that looks like. But it does mean making sure there is local support for, for going ahead and I …”
“It sounds like you don’t know.”
“And I can assure Mark Menzies. Well, there are various detailed issues that need to be worked through but I can assure Mark Menzies that I will make sure there is local consent if we are to go ahead in any particular area with fracking.”
“But your local MPs don’t want it, all Conservative. In the past the county council have said they didn’t want it, yet your government overturned it. The science hasn’t changed. Why can’t you tell us this morning there won’t be a return to fracking in Lancashire?”
“Well I don’t, I don’t accept the premise of your question.”
“It’s certainly the case at present. Because. What I said is if there is local consent we will go ahead. We need to explore where there is local consent and where there isn’t and we’re still doing that work. I don’t think we should rule out the whole of Lancashire.”
“You talked about how it is a success in other countries but in America they do it in the middle of nowhere. Do you actually know where Preston New Road is, where they have been fracking?”
“Well, I don’t, I don’t think I have been to that site in the past.”
“Well, as I’ve said we will only go ahead with projects where there is local consent. I am very, very clear about that. Now, we will make sure that that local consent is in place. And if there is a concern about a particular site, those concerns will, of course, be looked at and taken into account.”