Labour "will ban fracking" says shadow energy secretary

Labour's shadow business and energy secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey speaking to campaigners at the Preston New Road fracking site
Labour's shadow business and energy secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey speaking to campaigners at the Preston New Road fracking site

Labour’s shadow business secretary has reaffirmed her party’s commitment to ban fracking as she visited the Fylde drill site.

Rebecca Long-Bailey said that if Labour gets into power it would re-energise the renewable energy sector in the country to put the UK at the leading edge and create jobs.

Speaking to campaigners at Preston New Road, she said: “Energy is central to our industrial strategy but we are extremely worried about fracking, not just because of the technical issues and the potential risks it poses, but it undermines our climate change commitments as a nation.

"What we want to do in the Labour party is to ban fracking completely and we have a radical energy policy in terms of transforming the way that we see energy and investing in renewables to get at least 60 per cent of our energy from renewable sources by 2030.

“There’s a global market in renewable technology that’s worth more than $600bn which can transform regions. We can bring manufacturing here to support that industry creating innovation and jobs for the future.”

Blackpool South Labour MP Gordon Marsden said renewable energy skills and jobs were the way forward and pointed to the training taking pace at Blackpool and The Fylde Energy College at the airport which he said was overwhelmingly in renewables and the off shore energy sectors.

He said : “The skills training we get out of renewables and alternative energy will dwarf anything that comes from fracking.”

And he criticised the Tory party for re-running the public planning inquiry over the Roseacre Wood site this week, previously rejected on road safety grounds, accusing the Tories of simply trying again until they get the outcome they want.

Mrs Long-Bailey was also unhappy about the £7m plus cost of police guarding the Preston New Road frack site.

She said: “Our police forces are undergoing terrific strain at the moment and it’s sad to see them having to come to sites like this to police fracking. Those officers should be in our communities.”

But Pro-shale group Lancashire For Shale said Labour were mistaken.

A spokesman said: "It's disappointing to hear the Shadow Business Secretary repeating the false argument that shale gas and renewables are somehow competing choices, when, in fact, they are entirely complimentary.

"Wind, wave and solar only generate electricity, and intermittently at that. Gas is used for heating in over 80% of homes and for cooking in over 60% of homes and it’s not at all clear what Labour’s strategy would be to address that. When output from renewables falls, it's mostly gas that fills the gap and quickly ensures that homes and businesses are supplied with the reliable power they need, instead of burning more coal. Coal-to-gas switching has been an enabler of renewables and has already significantly lowered UK emissions of greenhouse gases."