The solution: Stop fracking, go renewable!
Keeping shale gas in the ground and developing our potential for renewable energy and energy saving would:
Help with tackling climate change
Mean the UK imports less gas in the future.
Renewable energy is the fastest growing energy source around the world. Many predict that it will be bigger than all the others in just a few decades. In the UK, technologies like onshore and offshore wind and solar now provide around a quarter of our electricity.
Using just one third of the UK’s wind, wave and tidal resource could:
- Unlock the electricity equivalent of one billion barrels of oil a year, matching North Sea oil and gas production.
- Achieve carbon dioxide reductions of 1.1 billion tonnes in the UK between 2010 and 2050 – a major contribution towards 2050 climate targets.
- Create 145,000 new UK jobs.
With the Conservative Government fully committed to making fracking happen in the UK, it might seem like a difficult task to stop it. But the Government have been trying to make fracking take off in the UK for years – and so far they haven’t succeeded – there has been no fracking since 2011. Why? Because everywhere fracking is proposed, local people oppose it. This pressure has been strongly felt by local councils who at the moment are responsible for deciding whether fracking can go ahead in their area.
The decision by Lancashire County Council to reject Cuadrilla’s proposal to frack at two sites in the county in June 2015 – subsequently “called in” by the government – is just one in a long series of setbacks for the fracking industry, who have been shown the door by local communities across the country. Despite Government giving the go ahead, dedicated local residents are continuing to delay Cuadrilla’s plans to frack and have legal challenges ongoing. In Balcombe, Sussex, Cuadrilla had to abandon their plans to frack due to popular protests a few years ago. Fracking applications in Sussex have been turned down by West Sussex County Council and by the South Downs National Park Authority. Moratoriums on fracking have been introduced in Wales and Scotland – Scotland is now consulting on a ban.
People coming together in their local areas to oppose fracking has kept the UK frack free for five years so far. While over 250 MPs now oppose fracking (including all major opposition parties and some Conservative MPs), we need to get more MPs on board before it will be possible to win a vote in Parliament. This means that the best strategy to stop fracking is to convince your council to reject the application, while trying to get your other political representatives to support your call for a fracking ban. But if you don’t have a fracking application nearby, you can still help – even from your own living room. It’s really important that councils making fracking decisions and politicians in Westminster feel the national spotlight on them, which means people taking action by signing petitions, spreading the word on social media or supporting anti-fracking campaigns on the ground from elsewhere.