We are writing to you following your comment piece on the start of fracking in Lancashire following a seven-year pause (The Gazette, October 16, ‘Drill timing is the ultimate irony’).
The only climate irony here is that campaigners cannot see how their actions, if successful, would only serve to keep us hooked on higher emission imports of liquefied natural gas from as far away as Algeria, Egypt and Qatar, when displacing them with shale gas, including from beneath Lancashire, would help to further reduce our carbon footprint by at least 3.5 million tonnes a year.
Like it or not, we are going to keep using gas to heat our homes and businesses for decades to come, even as the share of electricity we obtain from renewables continues to grow.
It is unquestionably more environmentally sustainable if a greater amount of that gas can be produced here rather than overseas, a point underscored by the chairman of the independent and influential Committee on Climate Change, Lord Deben, who recently described the idea of using imported gas instead of our own as “ridiculous”.
We also challenge your assertion that the Government “rode roughshod over their views in granting the original permission”.
Local planning decisions are overturned on appeal all the time, including in the case of proposed wind and solar farms.
It’s how the system of planning works in England; how much of the critical infrastructure needed to sustain our economy and our way of life is brought into being.
This does not in any way mean that local democracy has been trampled over.
The shale gas industry has a huge amount to offer the ordinary people and businesses of Lancashire. As an important voice in the county, we invite you to facilitate the debate over this opportunity with more even-handedness than was evidenced in the Gazette.
Lancashire For Shale Steering Group