Lancaster MP calls for complete ban on fracking as Environment Bill returns to Parliament

Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Cat Smith is calling for a complete ban on fracking when the Environment Bill returns to the floor of the House of Commons.

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 12:37 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 12:38 pm

Ms Smith will be speaking during the debate calling on the government to accept a new clause revoking all existing fracking licences and banning the issue of new licences.

She said: "“Fracking is a big deal in Lancashire.

“When Cuadrilla started, in just two months, 57 earthquakes were detected.

Ms Smith has supported the Frack Free Lancashire protest from the early days of the campaign.

"Cuadrilla actually stopped fracking five times because it triggered earthquakes bigger than the government rules allowed.

"Even more disturbingly, a year later, an earthquake measuring 2.9 on the Richter scale led to a review by the Oil and Gas Authority.

"Worryingly they concluded it was not possible to predict the probability or size of tremors caused by fracking.

"It was a relief when the government finally launched a moratorium, halting fracking and exploration with immediate effect.”

The former Cuadrilla fracking site at Little Plumpton.

Ms Smith said that there is still however no legislation, and is not included in this Environment Bill.

"We now know from the Lancashire experiment that fracking is a risky way of extracting dirty energy – and France, Germany, Ireland, Bulgaria, New York State, the Netherlands, Scotland and Wales all agree," she said.

"There are many risks surrounding fracking – the government knows this or else it wouldn’t have called a moratorium.”

Ms Smith said that according to the British Geological Survey, ‘groundwater may be potentially contaminated by extraction of shale gas both from the constituents of shale gas itself, from the formulation and deep injection of water containing a cocktail of additives used for hydraulic fracturing and from flowback water which may have a high content of saline formation water.’

She added: “In England, groundwater is used to supply a third of our drinking water.

“In addition, the assertion that fracking will lead to a jobs boom is just not true.

"According to Cuadrilla in its Lancashire licence application it stated just 11 jobs would be created at each of the two sites.

"Most importantly, scientists agree that if we’re to avoid dangerous levels of global warming, fossil fuel need to stay in the ground.

"With every licence application comes huge environmental concern, local opposition and widespread protest.

"It’s time, once and for all, to tell the fracking companies their time is up – and to make the future of the planet and the future of all life on earth our greatest priority.

"I hope that means today we can see all MPs support Labour’s new clause 12 to the Environment Bill.”