MP criticises Lib Dem ‘ignorance’ on fracking rules


Maria Caulfield MP has criticised local Liberal Democrats for ‘not understanding’ the recent rules on fracking that were agreed by Parliament.

The rules that were agreed by Parliament ensure any fracking carried out would safeguard national parks and that new planning rules simply bring the onshore oil and gas industry into line with utilities such as water companies.

Recent announcements about planning permission provides that onshore oil and gas companies will be like other industries which drill boreholes and perform subsurface monitoring, including seismic surveys, as a matter of course, with no lasting impact on the environment.

In December, Parliament approved regulations that will protect some of the country’s most beautiful areas from fracking. As a result of these regulations, fracking cannot take place at depths of less than 1,200 metres (0.75 miles) under more sensitive areas, including National Parks.

The Government is also intending to ban fracking wells and drills from being placed within National Parks, in order to safeguard some of our most precious landscapes.

Ms Caulfield said: “The Lib Dems have it wrong. The UK has one of the best track records in the world when it comes to protecting the environment while also developing our industries, and Ministers have confirmed that this experience will be brought to bear on the shale gas protections. The industry will be developed safely with world class environmental protections, creating jobs and delivering better energy security, while all the time safeguarding some of our most precious landscapes.”

Last week, Sarah Osborne, Leader of the Lewes District Council Lib Dem Group, said: “Just six weeks after Lewes Tory MP Maria Caulfield voted to allow fracking in National Parks, we now know that the Conservative government doesn’t want local people to have a say at all. Their plans to remove the decision from local councils is nothing short of an attack on democracy.”

Cllr Vic Ient added: “Fracking poses environmental risks to groundwater quality, waste and air emissions, and health and biodiversity and to the geological integrity of the areas involved. These are risks likely to be exacerbated by the Conservative government’s cost-cutting and deregulatory approach to compliance with environmental standards.

“Why are the Tories so keen to allow fracking and mess up our planet but at the same time close down the Lib Dem initiatives on Renewable Energy just when we were turning the corner on replacing polluting CO2 fuels with green energy sources?”

Cllr Osborne concluded: “Local Lib Dems are also alarmed by the Tory government’s premature withdrawal of support for the renewable industries that is now undermining the UK’s climate change commitments which we signed up to in December 2015.”

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