Mass fracking petition delivered to No 10

Last edited 21 January 2015 at 3:37pm
21 January, 2015

A 267,000-strong petition urging the Prime Minister to reconsider his ‘all-out’ support for fracking was handed in to Downing Street today ahead of a crunch week for the government’s push on shale.

After delivering the petition, a group of David Cameron’s constituents and environmental campaigners stood outside the entrance to No10 holding placards spelling out the number of people who signed it.

 

The initiative, supported by a broad alliance of environmental groups including Greenpeace UK, Friends of Earth, and WWF, comes just days before the first Commons vote on fracking legislation and a much anticipated council decision on fracking in Lancashire. [1]  

 

The Infrastructure Bill coming before MPs for a crucial vote on Monday includes a series of controversial measures to pave the way for fracking. As well as weakening property rights in favour of energy firms planning to frack under people’s homes [2], the proposed legislation will allow shale firms to dump ‘any substance’ underground indefinitely, whilst failing to fully protect the sensitive areas that supply aquifers, the country’s sources of drinking water. [3]

 

Later next week, the Lancashire County Council planning committee will decide whether to give energy firm Cuadrilla the go-ahead to frack at two sites near Blackpool. Earlier today, planning officers recommended that the drilling proposals at both locations should be refused because of concerns about increased traffic and noise.

 

Ministers are in process of handing out licence blocks for shale exploration across over half of Britain, but are facing flagging public support and widespread concerns about the impact of the controversial industry. [4] Recent high-profile studies have shown fracking operations can contaminate drinking water and pollute the air with toxic chemicals, as well as adding to climate-warming emissions. [5]

 

Greenpeace UK energy campaigner Simon Clydesdale said:

 

“David Cameron’s government  is about to hand over half of the country to a risky and unproven fracking industry despite dwindling public support, weak regulations, and growing evidence of its harmful impacts.

 

“Independent experts say fracking won’t cut bills and won’t deliver at scale for years, if ever. What it will do instead is sap investor confidence in the clean technologies already providing homegrown energy and thousands of jobs.

 

“Political leaders from New York to Berlin have already banned fracking. Now it’s our government’s turn to put caution and the welfare of our communities before the interests of the shale lobby.”

 

Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Oliver Hayes said:

 

“It is totally unacceptable for David Cameron to be zealously pursuing fracking and shale gas – in Lancashire or anywhere - when the world’s scientists are clear that ditching fossil fuels is an urgent imperative.

 

“His headlong drive to go ‘all out’ for fracking belies public opinion, economic sense or any notion that his coalition Government is committed to being the ‘greenest ever’.

“Instead of pandering to the fossil fuel industry, David Cameron must put the interests of people and the planet first and pursue a massive programme to insulate the UK’s coldest homes and ramp up investment in green energy.”

ENDS

 

Notes

 

  1. The petition was supported by the following organisations: Greenpeace UK, Friends of the Earth, 38 Degrees, WWF, 350.org, People & Planet, Compass, The Climate Coalition, and Platform.

  2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-27110655

  3. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/14/uk-to-allow-fracking-companies-to-use-any-substance-under-homes

  4. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/energy/11028321/Support-for-fracking-has-declined-to-24-per-cent-energy-department-finds.html

  5. Studies on new fracking pollutants and methane contamination: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/01/14/3611503/two-new-fracking-pollutants/

http://www.newsweek.com/fracking-wells-tainting-drinking-water-texas-and-pennsylvania-study-finds-270735

Study on air pollutants:

http://www.ehjournal.net/content/13/1/82/abstract

Study on climate change impact:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/15/gas-boom-from-unrestrained-fracking-linked-to-emissions-rise

 

Contacts: Stefano Gelmini, Greenpeace UK press officer, m 07506 512442



Follow Greenpeace UK