Cuadrilla boss says fracking is 'more environmentally friendly' following Jeremy Corbyn's visit to protesters at Preston New Road

Jeremy Corbyn at the Preston New Road site
Jeremy Corbyn at the Preston New Road site
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The boss of fracking company Cuadrilla has responded to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's rallying call for the controversial process to be banned at the Preston New Road site.

Francis Egan, the chief executive of Cuadrilla Resources, had asked Mr Corbyn to visit the drilling rig during his visit to the Fylde coast yesterday, but he said he would not be taking up the offer.

He was given a warm welcome by protesters who have maintained a strong presence at the site since the company was given the go-ahead to start fracking in October 2016.

Mr Egan said it was a 'shame' that Mr Corbyn declined his invitation.

He said: "It would have been nice to talk to the workforce; we're very happy to talk to you but it wasn't to be today,

"We're told that you talked about the CO2 emissions from shale gas and really we want to make a point that it's a lot more environmentally friendly to take our gas from underneath our feet here in Lancashire than to import it from thousands of miles away from the Middle East or the United States of America, and really that's what we think the Labour Party should be focusing on.

"Secondly there was a claim made that we damaged the water course; we can tell you that is categorically not true; we have had over 35 visits from the Environment Agency since we started on the site in January 2017 and there is not a shred of evidence of the water course being damaged."

Labour says if the UK fully exploits its shale gas reserves, the amount of carbon released would 'eliminate any hope of the government meeting its 2050 net-zero target'.

Mr Corbyn said: "We need urgent action to tackle the climate emergency, and that means the Prime Minister immediately banning fracking once and for all.

"Instead of bending the knee to a few corporations who profit from extracting fossil fuels from the ground, we need to change course now.

"It's the next generation and the world's poorest who will pay the price if this Conservative government continues to put the interests of a few polluters ahead of people."