Ministers should press ahead with fracking, the head of the Government’s official advisory body on climate change has said.
Lord Deben said that exploiting Britain’s reserves of shale gas could provide a secure source of energy for decades without wrecking the environment.
The peer – who, as John Gummer, served as environment secretary in Sir John Major’s Government – dismissed claims by groups such as Greenpeace that the gas and the chemicals used in fracking could contaminate water supplies and increase carbon emissions.
“It just isn’t true that fracking is going to destroy the environment and the world is going to come to an end if you frack. And yet to listen to some people on the green end, that’s what they say,” he told The Times.
“I’m in favour of it. The carbon budgets have already assumed that we are going to use gas well on through the 2020s and into the 30s.
“There will be a need for gas (and) much better to have it from us and as soon as we can because I do genuinely think people ought to be worried about the security of our energy supplies.”
His intervention comes after Chancellor George Osborne used his Autumn Statement last week to announce a new tax allowance to encourage investment in shale gas that will see tax rates on early profits halved.