Need for clear clean energy policy

I read with interest Green Cllr Susan Murray’s open letter to Norman Baker MP on fracking.

Cllr Murray is quite right to point out the LibDem/Tory Government’s singular failure to take action to decarbonise Britain’s energy supply and create the right conditions for investment in renewable energies - a failure supported by Norman Baker’s obdurate fence-sitting. But the Green Party is, as ever, in danger of failing to see the wood for the trees.

Labour has set out 6 conditions which must be met before any shale gas exploration takes place in this country, including a mandated disclosure of all hazardous chemicals used in fracking; a full risk assessment by the regulator of the potential environmental impact; monitoring of local micro-seismic activity in the area; a detailed assessment of the impact on local communities and their water supplies - and at least a full year’s monitoring of all these factors before any drilling can be considered.

This sets the bar very high for an unproven technology. But the Greens totally miss the point that with household energy bills rising faster than many hard pressed families can cope with, we need a clear, effective energy policy in this country which allows us to secure affordable gas and electricity prices and security of supply.

Caroline Lucas’s approach, as the only Green MP, seems to be that it’s OK to continue to import gas from the questionable regime in Russia and it hasn’t gone unnoticed that David Cameron and George Osborne, fracking’s biggest fans, have admitted that there is little likelihood that fracking will bring down bills for consumers. Instead, the Coalition focuses on raising tax revenues at the cost of our countryside and communities.

The Labour Party recognises the need for a mixed energy economy with proper investment in our natural resources for renewable energies and tough standards and regulatory requirements for newer, riskier technologies.

Philippa Thompson

on behalf of Lewes Labour Party