Fracking on Fylde coast election agenda

Fylde Labour candidate Jed Sullivan at the Preston New Road fracking site
Fylde Labour candidate Jed Sullivan at the Preston New Road fracking site
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Anti-fracking campaigners have welcomed Labour’s pledge to ban fracking if they win the June General Election.

Labour’s parliamentary candidate for the Fylde constituency, Jed Sullivan, has sought to reassure Fylde residents of Labour’s plans ahead of polling day on June 8.

He met Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, last week, to seek assurances for residents across the Fylde Coast, upon Labour’s stance for the highly controversial fossil fuel extraction technique.

During a filmed clip of the meeting, Mr McDonnell reaffirmed: “We are opposed to fracking and will be banning fracking.”

Mr Sullivan said: “Fylde’s residents are, quite rightly, very concerned about the prospect of fracking on their doorstep.

“Labour is the only party which will have the ability to ban fracking – a vote for Labour is a vote to stop fracking.”

The pledge was welcomed by the Preston New Road Action Group.

Dianne Westgarth from the group said: “Our health is at risk, our livelihoods are at risk and our homes are worthless. We are absolutely terrified.

“What are you doing going to do about it Mrs May? Conservative policies are not compatible with the environment and sustainable energy production.”

But Fylde Conservative candidate Mark Menzies said: “Let’s not forget it was the last Labour government that designated Fylde as a license area for fracking. For them to say they will now ban it is double standards to say the least.

“I remain absolutely committed to ensuring there is a tough system of shale gas regulation in the UK.

“I have succeeded in pressuring the Government to bring in significant regulations to improve baseline monitoring of well sites, banning shale gas production in protected areas and introducing a ‘traffic light’ monitoring system.

“As a direct result of my intervention on behalf of residents, Public Health England has now undertaken baseline and continuing monitoring for radon levels at Preston New Road. A programme is also being drawn up to monitor levels of benzene.

“More must be done to ensure the robust regulatory system – which I have long argued for – is instituted.

“I have long argued for a single, overarching body to oversee all aspects of regulation and to communicate the work it is doing. I will also continue to press the Department of Health to undertake more detailed assessments of the number of residents living in close proximity to planned shale gas exploration sites with pre-existing health conditions."

Fylde Lib Dem candidate Frederick van Mierlo said: “The Liberal Democrats are opposed to fracking.

“Fylde doesn’t want fracking and it is costing Lancashire valuable police time and disrupting traffic. This will only get worse with increasing numbers of trucks on the road.

“While all candidates in Fylde, apart from Mark Menzies and the Conservatives, are opposed to fracking, only the Liberal Democrats have a credible plan for keeping the lights on, without drilling beneath our homes.”

Green Party candidate Tina Rothery said: “With a safe Conservative seat inflated by the lack of a UKIP candidate and Labour running a poor second at every election, it is time to challenge the assumption of the ‘inevitable’.

“Residents of the Fylde face a unique situation and opportunity on June 8. Having had our local democratic decision to reject plans for fracking overturned by a decision in Westminster, a vote for an anti-fracking candidate will make a clear statement.

"The Green Party has led the way with policies well ahead of their time, that other parties later adopt, From a living wage, improved local transportation services, the protection of the NHS, free education and improvements in vital services for the disabled and the elderly, our policies serve the genuine needs of the people of the Fylde and beyond."

See also: Viewing area open at fracking site