Ban fracking after record earthquake, Labour demands
Labour shadow ministers have today (Tuesday 27 August) written to Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom, calling on the government to “immediately ban fracking”, following a record-breaking 2.9 richter scale earthquake that hit Lancashire on Monday. The earthquake is significantly larger than the 2.3 magnitude earthquake that struck in 2011, following which fracking operations were suspended in the UK for seven years.
The letter, signed by Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long Bailey MP and Shadow Minister for Climate Justice and Green Jobs Danielle Rowley MP, notes that fracking is inconsistent with achieving net zero emissions, increases air pollution, and presents contamination risks from spills and mismanagement of wastewater.
The letter highlights the “fear, disruption and potential damage to property caused by fracking” and points out that “fracking is not needed for energy security”.
Full text of the letter:
Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1 Victoria St
27 August 2019
Dear Secretary of State,
We are writing with reference to the 2.9 magnitude earthquake at the Preston New Road fracking site run by Cuadrilla. The earthquake is reported to have shaken homes, with residents reporting a “deep guttural roar”.
This is larger than the 2.3 magnitude earthquake recorded in 2011, after which fracking operations were suspended in the UK for seven years.
As well as the fear, disruption and potential damage to property caused by fracking, the Committee on Climate Change has concluded that fracking on a significant scale is not compatible with the UK’s climate change targets. If shale gas were to be developed now, it would be displacing genuinely low carbon energy, not coal. The CCC’s conclusions were made prior to the UK adopting a net zero emissions target, and developing a new fossil fuel source is certainly incompatible with reaching net zero emissions.
A government report from 2015 concluded that fracking increases air pollution, with substantially higher impacts at the local level where activities are clustered. Fracking also generates large amounts of wastewater, which poses contamination risks to local ecosystems from spills and mismanagement.
Furthermore, fracking is not needed for energy security. According to BEIS officials, the UK already benefits from highly diverse and flexible sources of gas supply, with imports piped in from Norway and Belgium and shipped in from Qatar, and that is in addition to existing domestic production.
In light of the above, we are calling on you to immediately ban fracking, and the Labour Party will work with the Government to swiftly introduce legislation to that effect.
Rebecca Long Bailey MP
Danielle Rowley MP