Politically Correct by Martyn Coyne

Martyn Coyne, joint co-ordinator at Blackpool Greenpeace
Martyn Coyne, joint co-ordinator at Blackpool Greenpeace
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Have your say

Government wants to ‘push’ on with fracking

As anyone who has driven down Preston New Road recently will probably know, Cuadrilla’s fracking site being is currently being developed at Little Plumpton.

You may also have seen the protesters voicing their opinions against the development and against the industry as a whole.

Horizontal fracking or fracturing is a very controversial process.

Its supporters argue it can be done safer here, but fracking remains a risky business with many unknowns.

Fracking (short for hydraulic fracturing) is a destructive fossil fuel industry, where a mix of water and chemicals are used to blast rocks and release trapped gas or oil.

Its roll-out in rural areas will likely require new roads to be built for the thousands of polluting diesel trucks that will be laden with chemicals and waste fluids.

Despite public support for fracking remaining extremely low, the government is still going all out for shale and pushing this largely unproven and dirty form of energy.

Local communities’ right to say no to fracking is also being overturned with the Secretary of State overruling Lancashire County Council last year.

Not only that but a government report suggested that fracking could have negative impacts on tourism and house prices as well.

Before 2011, the majority of people on the Fylde coast would not have heard of fracking. That is, until two earthquakes occurred.

Hundreds of fracking licences have been awarded since then, all over the UK.

A number of these fracking sites cover sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) and areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) – and the Government has recently pushed through legislation that will allow fracking under protected areas despite opposition.

Even though it simply does not make economic or environmental sense, this is the fossil fuel the UK government wants to push for at a national scale.

Invest in greener energy

Around the world we are seeing countries embrace clean, renewable energy solutions.

But in the UK the majority of our power (approximately 75 per cent) comes from a mix of nuclear, gas, coal and oil.

The reliance on fossil fuels especially is fuelling climate change and will ultimately fail to create a sustainable energy future.

In order to keep the lights, ensure energy security and tackle climate change we should be investing in a mix of renewable power including solar and offshore wind.

As well as investing in battery storage and systems that improve efficiency of energy use, to ensure power when the sun doesn’t shine and there’s no wind.

The UK Government should be investing in clean, renewable power, not fracking or buying foreign, state owned, old fashioned nuclear technology that doesn’t work.

We want 80 per cent renewable energy power by 2030 and in particular we want to see an investment in offshore wind.

We are already producing 25 per cent of our electricity from renewables and in the UK alone solar prices have fallen by 70 per cent since 2010 and are predicted to keep falling further.

Energy produced by solar is already cheaper than that produced by nuclear.

Investing in renewables will also support economic growth and job creation.

In 2015 an estimated 233,000 full-time employees were working directly in Low Carbon and Renewable Energy activities.

In contrast jobs per fracking site are expected to be minimal.

The UK could also become a leader in new green technology world-wide, keeping our economy healthy.

Now is the time for us all to do our bit to make sure we are heading in the right direction.

Support comes from wide net

What is so inspiring about the resistance to fracking is the wide range of people who are coming down to fight.

Everyone from local residents, concerned business owners, councillors, pensioners, families, children, farmers and even visitors from all over the UK who care so passionately about the effect of fracking worldwide that they have come here to show their support to our protest.

We want it to be clear that everybody is welcome.

Whether you just come to show support, bring down food or supplies, wave banners or perform ‘direct action’, everybody has their own way of showing their views.

There has even been a protection camp set up near the site, so people from out of town have somewhere to stay and somewhere they feel welcome.

Come down and have a chat with them or alternatively attend the weekly Frack Free Lancashire Saturday event happening at Maple Farm to find out more.