September 27th, 2016

Worcestershire Greens slam fracking decision as MPs are divided

Updated: 10:10 am, Dec 18, 2015

GREEN Party representatives from Worcestershire have slammed MPs’ decision to pave the way for fracking under the country’s national parks.

It follows the Commons vote on Tuesday (December 15) which saw 298 vote in favour and 261 against.

Task Force on Shale Gas had concluded its verdict to frack under national parks and special sites of scientific interest (SSSIs) as ‘safe and useful’.

Fracking involves drilling thousands of feet into the ground to inject a combination of water, sand and chemicals into rocks to extract gas at high pressure.

Tuesday’s decision will enable firms to drill 1,200metres below the ground in search of gas.

Neil Franks, the chairman of the Mid-Worcestershire Green Party, called for a rethink.

“It’s not rocket science, if we invest in renewables and create new jobs, the next time the bankers make a mess, our local community will be more robust in dealing with the shock to our economy.”

And he claimed donations from the fracking industry to the Conservative Party were well-documented in the media.

Bromsgrove and Redditch Green Party representative Spoz told the Standard: “Has the world gone mad? What are we doing?

“We’ve only just come out of the Paris Climate Summit and they decide to frack?

“So basically, they’ve said yes to all this stuff at the Paris summit and then just ignored it all.”

The area’s MPs were once again divided on the issue with Northfield’s Richard Burden voting against and Bromsgrove’s Sajid Javid and Mid-Worcestershire’s Nigel Huddleston voting for.

Mr Burden, speaking ahead of the vote, said: “I oppose any shale gas exploration in the UK without a proper environmental and safety framework in place.

“Before any drilling to explore or extract unconventional gas can be permitted we must ensure the right conditions, safeguards and protections are in place.”

Mr Javid said: “I completely understand people’s concerns about fracking.

“That’s why I am pleased that Government is creating a regulatory regime that provides clear, strong protections for the environment and our most precious landscapes.

“With these in place, I think it is right we explore making use of shale gas and oil.”

Mr Huddleston added he voted yes because he believed the potential benefits outweighed the likely risks.

“Fracking could create over 60,000 jobs and be worth billions to the UK economy.

“Evidence from the US suggests fracking could have a beneficial impact on overall energy costs.”

And he said regulations would ban fracking on the surface of national parks, Areas of Outstanding National Beauty and World Heritage Sites and the practice would not be carried out within protected groundwater source areas.

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