The former Green Party MEP and environmental campaigner, Keith Taylor, has died, aged 69.
Mr Taylor supported anti-fracking protests at Preston New Road in Lancashire and Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire.
He also opposed onshore oil and gas developments across southern England.
He supported campaigns against drilling at Leith Hill, Brockham and Horse Hill in Surrey, and at Balcombe, Broadford Bridge, Markwells Wood and Lidsey in West Sussex.
Mr Taylor represented south east England in the European Parliament for nine years, until he retired in 2019. He was one of the Green Party’s principal speakers from 2004-2006 and he served on Brighton Council from 1999-2010.
In 2019, Mr Taylor published a critical report about the regulatory system for onshore hydrocarbons.
This described what he called an extensive set of breaches of planning, regulatory and environmental conditions across England. He accused UK onshore oil and gas companies of regularly breaching regulation with little consequence and said there were systematic failings in the regulatory system.
“Don’t let anyone tell you protests don’t achieve anything. They do”.
When four campaigners were jailed in September 2018 for taking part in a lorry protest outside Preston New Road, he said:
“It has been almost a hundred years since Britain jailed its last environmental campaigners. Since then, the theory goes, we have developed into a mature liberal democracy that can accommodate dissent.
“Today’s decision blows that myth wide-open; authoritarianism has become a favourite tool of a minority government that lacks the public’s support to force through its environmentally destructive agenda by any other means. Any government that conspires with the dirty fossil fuel industry against its own people is rotten to the core.
“Dissent is not a crime in any country with a political system fit to be called a democracy. Consequently, the sentences handed to the frack-free four are chilling.”
He added his support to a campaign by the police monitoring group, Netpol, for a review of guidance on policing anti-fracking protests.
The Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, said today:
“So incredibly sad to hear of death of Keith Taylor – the Green Party pioneer, former Brighton councillor, MEP & friend. Passionate about building a better world, worked so hard to secure first MP seat, infectious sense of humour. I owe him so much. Deepest sympathy to his family.”
Weald Action Group said:
“We are so sorry to hear the Keith Taylor MEP has died. Keith was an outspoken opponent of fracking and new oil and gas developments in the south of England. He gave great support to many of the local groups and above all, he was a very kind, principled and funny human being. We send our sympathy and love to his family.”
Broadford Bridge Action Group said:
“What an amazing man. Keith was always on the frontline of anti-fracking and ready to stand up and be counted. Eloquent and inspiring, hard-working and personable he will be greatly missed. We owe him a lot. Condolences to his family.”
Frack Free Lancashire said:
“Such sad news. Keith was such a lovely man who supported us in our campaign. Condolences to his family.”
“Deeply saddened to hear of the death of former Green Party MEP Keith Taylor. We worked closely with Keith for years to push for a review of policing tactics at anti-fracking protests and he helped us launch our 2017 report at the gates of Cuadrilla’s site on Preston New Road.”