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Saturday, June 20, 2015

The consensus on fracking has broken down and that is a good thing

Yesterday's Guardian contained an interesting article on the way that the political consensus around fracking has begun to breakdown since the General Election.

They say that up the the May poll the UK’s political parties have been unusually united in their support for hydraulic fracturing at a national level. However, both of the likely next leaders of the Labour party and the Liberal Democrats support a ban on fracking. That  leaves just Ukip and the Conservatives, who are “going all out for shale", as the only parties in the UK strongly in favour:

“Where is the evidence that it is safe to come and frack a place like this [Leigh]?” said Labour frontrunner Andy Burnham earlier this month. “No fracking should go ahead until we have much clearer evidence on the environmental impact.”

This week, Tim Farron, the favourite to be the next Lib Dem leader, said he would like his party to consider a ban. Unlike Burnham, whose concerns seemed to rest on potential impact on the local environment, Farron’s justification was the big picture: by the time fracking in the UK was happening commercially, we’d need to be phasing almost all fossil fuel out of the power sector to meet our carbon targets.

“Shale gas will only have a future in the UK if we abandon, or significantly scale back, our climate targets – and that’s something that I hope every Liberal Democrat would oppose,” he wrote on the Huffington Post.

Of course the Welsh Liberal Democrats have been in this place for sometime. We feel strongly that there are huge unresolved environmental, health and safety and climate change challenges with fracking that remain unanswered. We are not prepared to put communities and our future well-being at risk by supporting fracking until all of these issues have been addressed to our satisfaction.
> “No fracking should go ahead until
> we have much clearer evidence
> on the environmental impact.”

If I remember correctly, that is the core of a resolution which Welsh Liberal Democrats adopted at conference two or three years back.

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