I have been contacted by a number of constituents as part of a campaign by Friends of the Earth regarding fracking.
I want to be clear that I very much share the concerns raised with me by constituents with regard to fracking and will do everything in my power to oppose any fracking activity in North Norfolk. Last year I signed an open letter to Claire Perry MP, Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, opposing Government proposals to allow fracking companies to undertake exploratory drilling without local planning applications.
I am determined that Britain lives up to its environmental obligations and I am committed to a cleaner, greener UK. Climate change is one of the biggest global threats we face, and the focus must be on achieving a zero carbon Britain by 2050. During the coalition, the Liberal Democrats championed green energy in government, investing in renewable energy and overseeing the trebling of renewable electricity generation. Since then, it has been bitterly disappointing to see the Conservatives rolling back the green agenda – cutting funding for renewable energy and selling off the Green Investment Bank.
I do not believe that fracking is the solution to the country’s energy problems. Shale gas produces carbon when burned, and I am worried that relying on this resource will undermine the fight against global warming. Fracking has also been linked to water pollution and other problems including earth tremors and explosions. I recognise that it causes major disturbance and anxiety in local communities.
I am proud that my party have taken a strong stance on this issue. At the 2017 election, our manifesto confirmed our opposition to fracking “because of its adverse impact on climate change, the energy mix, and the local environment”. Instead, I want to see us investing more in renewable energy sources, cutting our dependence on carbon-emitting fossil fuels, and protecting our countryside and natural environment.
I also wrote to the Energy Minister to put forward the concerns raised by constituents regarding the weakening of regulations that protect the public and environment from earthquakes caused by fracking and I include below a copy of the response I received. A copy of the 'shale gas myth buster' document provided by the Energy Minister can be viewed here.