Green party leaders visit Fylde fracking site

Green Party leaders Jonathan Bartley and Caroline Lucas sitting down at the gates of Cuadrilla's fracking site at Preston New Road to show solidarity with local protesters. Photo by Ross Wills, Maple Indie Media.

More than 200 people gathered at the Preston New Road fracking site to welcome Green Party leaders Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley.

Caroline Lucas praised the campaigners and said: “We know that fracking is so dangerous and so unnecessary. The way forward is renewable energy not dirty fracking.”

She said shale gas would not keep fuel bills down and fossil fuels should be left in the ground, instead she pointed to the recent news that offshore wind power was now much cheaper than nuclear.

She blasted the Government for subverting democracy by overturning the county council’s decision to refuse planning permission for fracking.

She added: “History will look back at these moments where we are literally on the front line of the fight against climate change. History will show we were on the right side.”

Also at the gathering was Simon Pickering who is the chief ecologist with independent green energy supplier Ecotricity. He spoke about the need to develop renewable power sources and how wind turbines, although many considered them unsightly, could be removed after 25 years and would leave no damage to the local environment.

He said: "This current Government has knocked back the cause of renewable energy. 69 per cent of people want to see more investment in renewables. In the wrong places they are not a good idea, but in the right situations they are perfect.

"We even have installed a huge wind turbine at the RSPB's headquarters in Sandy Bedfordshire which shows there really is a place for them in the environment. Solar farms actually create nature reserves underneath them - a refuge for butterflies, bees and other pollinators from the chemical warfare that occurs in intensively farmed fields.

"We are here today to support the protester because our customers have asked us to be."

Stephen Hall from the Greater Manchester Trades Union Council was also at the event.

He said: "We are hear to show solidarity with the campaigners on their Green Monday events. It is not just worries about pollution and climate change. Fracking is not going to create huge numbers of jobs. Renewables has the potential to create 4,500 jobs in this part of the world compared to less than 30 created here.

"It is not just the off shore wind and solar power it is about creating jobs through bringing energy efficiencies to peoples homes and businesses. Domestic sources account for a quarter of our CO2 footprint and we have a programme to roll that out across the country."

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