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Sunday, August 04, 2013

Speaking out against fracking

The Telegraph reports that another row has broken out within the coalition, however for once this split has not taken place on party lines.

They say that Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrats’ president, has said he is “greatly worried” by the Government’s “dash for shale gas”. His views clash strongly with those of Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary and a fellow Liberal Democrat.

The paper believes that Tim's comments suggest that rank-and-file Liberal Democrats could increase pressure to rein in fracking, restricting the potential that senior ministers such as George Osborne see for it to help revive the British economy.

IGas, one firm hoping to exploit Britain’s shale gas reserves, estimates that there may be 170trillion cubic ft of gas in the areas of the north of England where it is licensed to explore.

The company estimates that fracking could create up to 40,000 jobs over 20 years.

However, opposition to the process on environmental grounds has become increasingly vocal. A protest near the West Sussex village of Balcombe is into its 11th day, and has already led to more than 30 arrests.

Residents are concerned about issues such as possible contamination of their water supplies and the increase in traffic on their roads. A poll published by villagers found that 85 per cent opposed fracking at the nearby site.

It is certainly the case that grassroots Liberal Democrats are far more sceptical than our Ministers about this method of extraction. A number of Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Members for example have been active in their communities and in the Senedd in demanding a precautionary approach to extraction applications. That concern is replicated amongst activists and elected councillors across the UK.

For once Tim Farron is speaking for many in the party. Ed Davey and others would do well to listen.
I think Tim Farron speaks for many in the party quite often actually.
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