Former diplomat at frack site to oppose shale gas

John Ashton at the Preston New Road fracking site
John Ashton at the Preston New Road fracking site
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Anti-fracking campaigners at a Fylde drill site welcomed a former diplomat and environmental campaigner to their ongoing protests.

John Ashton, who was in Beijing in the 1980s and in Hong Kong in the run up to the handover of sovereignty before serving as special representative for climate change for three successive UK Foreign Secretaries, spoke to campaigners at Preston New Road. He is also a founder of the Third Generation Environmentalism group.

He told the protesters: “You can be in favour of fracking or you can be in favour of doing something about climate change. But you certainly can’t be in favour of doing both at the same time.”

He praised the campaigners in Lancashire for continuing the effort against fracking for so long and for being present every day at the Preston New Road site since work on it began in January 2017.

The event also had a talk from Jamie Peters, a campaigner with Friends of the Earth. He said that the protesters were winning the battle and that the shale gas industry would face similar opposition everywhere it tried to drill in the UK.

But a spokesman for Lancashire For Shale said: “Natural gas from shale extracted from beneath Lancashire has the potential to play a vital role to play in lowering the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.

"Coal-to-gas switching in electricity generation has already done the most to reduce energy emissions since 1990, with gas-fired power stations supplying 42 per cent of electricity in 2016, and so the question now is about how we can ensure that the gas used to produce our electricity has the lowest lifecycle emissions of all."