Why the u-turn on fracking?

Open letter to Norman Baker MP

You have regularly assured constituents that your Government was taking the necessary action to decarbonise Britain’s energy supply and create the right conditions for green investment in this country. And on your own website you say, “Irrespective of the genuine climate change concerns, any fracking eventually undertaken must be proven to be safe and the public must be confident in this safety. I am not convinced at this stage that this has been achieved for fracking yet.”

In light of this, why has the Government suddenly chosen to impose the highly dangerous process of fracking on this part of the country, as well as elsewhere in the UK? What could be further from ‘decarbonising’ the energy supply? Might it be anything to do with pressure from the fossil fuel companies?

Last autumn the film ‘Gasland Part II’ was shown in Lewes and it will be shown again at all Saints at 4pm on Sunday February 16.

The film makes horrifying viewing and clearly shows that fracking is something no one would want anywhere near them, their children or their water supply.

The film refers to the American experience, but there seems little reason why much of it should not be equally applicable in the UK. In view of such horrific potential for damage to the environment, to water supplies and to health the Green Party, like members of the public, is shocked by the extent to which these companies are ‘in bed’ with Government.

France, Germany and other countries have banned fracking – why are we letting these companies loose on our land?

Fracking provides short term gain for long term pain: the chemicals (a secret mix of toxic substances) will persist in our ground, water and air. The land will never be clean again. Where will the contaminated waste sludges go? There will be a constant stream of tankers rumbling through our lanes. This is a violation and must be stopped. Furthermore, there are clear conflicts of interest at play. The UK Government actually persuaded the EU to slacken regulation on this process so that there is reduced liability for environmental impact – and - there are tax breaks for companies which do it!

Please can you explain your u-turn, and why you think that people in Sussex (and elsewhere) should have to put up with the multiple environmental threats presented by this industry.

Cllr Susan Murray

On behalf of Lewes Green Party