What U-turn on fracking?

As a Lib Dem, and a particularly environmentally minded one at that, I am reluctant to see Britain extend our reliance on fossil fuels any more than necessary, particularly without carbon capture and storage. In this respect, I personally do not welcome any exploitation of fossil fuels in this country unless this produces an overall carbon saving. I have previously written to the Chair of the Environment Agency related to the fact that when future licences become available, I am concerned that areas in East Sussex may be open to development.

Furthermore, I have asked for assurances that the local water infrastructure is robust enough to withstand any additional pressures placed upon it by any operations.

I would not want to see the water resources available to local residents affected in any way. I raised further concerns following suggestion that poorly regulated fracking sites in the US have leaked pollutants into local water supplies and I have received assurances that local springs and wetlands will be given a high degree of protection.

I have also made clear that I do not believe the Sussex Downs National Park, which includes Lewes, to be in any way appropriate for fracking.

I therefore cannot ‘explain my u-turn’, as Susan Murray asks me to, as I have not made one.

Norman Baker MP