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Green Liberal Democrats - Party Leadership Election Environmental Q&A 5) Fracking

June 21, 2015 6:30 PM
By Tim Farron and Norman Lamb

The Green Liberal Democrats have sent the two leadership candidates a series of questions, to inform party members, through their responses, about their green credentials.

In the run up to our annual conference in Manchester on June 27th, we will be publishing their answers, one question at a time.

Q5. In the light of the recent Environmental Protection Agency finding in the US, as well as the increasing moral imperative to leave fossil fuels in the ground, should we now act to protect our climate and water supplies from Fracking by changing our current policy and pushing for a ban?

Norman Lamb Norman Lamb

Tim FarronTim Farron

I am instinctively opposed to fracking, and recognise completely the strong environmental arguments against the practice. But I also feel strongly that every penny we give to Russia and the middle east for oil and gas, money that ultimately funds conflict in the Ukraine, bullets for ISIL terrorists, and the security forces that prop up the world's most oppressive regimes, leaves us with blood on our hands. We can only stop this flow of cash by improving the UK's energy independence. Our overwhelming priority should be building up our green energy generation. Our ultimate decision on whether there can be any fracking should be based on evidence and science. The bar should be set high with a presumption in favour of renewables.

Yes, I believe we should we arguing for a ban on fracking, and I would like the party, through the FPC and the conference, to think again about our existing policy on fracking - I'll be writing further about this soon. I do not think that the UK should be pursuing another fossil fuel source, when we have so much potential for renewable generation from tidal and hydro sat untapped.

I have been sceptical about fracking ever since I started to read the evidence on it. My biggest concern is that it will introduce another source of fossil fuel at a time when we should be stepping down our usage of them. I was one of just 52 MPs to vote for an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill which would have placed a moratorium on fracking. When this had been defeated, I also voted for the amendment that would have halted all development until the Energy Committee of the House of Commons had completed their Report upon the scientific evidence on the dangers of fracking. However with the Labour party and almost all Conservative MPs seeing flashing pound signs, the Bill was bound to pass. We did at least extract the significant concession from the Minister that there will be no grant of permission for exploration or extraction by fracking in the National Parks - though apparently the Tories are now considering reversing this.