Government's fracking policies challenged by Pendle peer

A fracking site in Lancashire
A fracking site in Lancashire
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The controversial issue of fracking has been challenged by a Lancashire Lord.

Pendle-based Liberal Democrat Lord Tony Greaves, who lives at Colne, challenged the Government on their fracking policies when he tabled a Topical Question in the House of Lords following a High Court decision that the revised planning guidance on fracking issued to local planning authorities is unlawful.

Lord Greaves

Lord Greaves

Lord Greaves said that this was another example where the present Government is “lacking basic procedural competence”.

He challenged the need for fracking and said: “It seems rather strange that the Government want widespread extraction of methane from rocks in this country at a time when the climate crisis affecting the world is getting worse.”

He also asked whether they think it is “politically sustainable for them to cover large areas of the English countryside, which are often Conservative strongholds, with hundreds and thousands of fracking wells?”

The Minister, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, said: “We believe that the technology is worth looking at, because methane presents a bridge between fossil fuels and renewables, and is the best of the hydrocarbons in terms of pollution. But we are committed to ensuring that it is also safe and environmentally sound and that there is a strong regulatory system.”

Lord Greaves said after the debate: “The fact is that fracking in this country is going nowhere, and the Minister’s rather half-hearted attempts to justify it rather underline that is the case. They don’t want to upset the oil and gas industry by closing down the fracking gas exploration, but they daren’t let them off the leash for fear of a massive public backlash.

"So we have the present stuttering stop-start performance at Preston New Road, Lancashire police have their resources diverted from real crime, and everyone is playing a time-wasting and money-wasting game.

"It sums up so much in this country at present. It should just be stopped.”