miércoles, 17 de mayo de 2017

UK Fracking: Could fierce opposition to fracking make life difficult for certain Tories?

13 de mayo de 2017

The energy behind the anti-fracking campaign only appears to be on the rise.

Fracking is one issue that encapsulates nearly everything that is currently wrong with the state of our democracy,” says Tina Rothery, the anti-fracking “nana" now standing as a Green Party candidate in Fylde in Lancashire. But is it also a subject that could leave the Tory Party fractured come the 8 June?

Tina has long battled the UK’s oil and gas industry over this issue and sees the government’s recent support for an exploration well at Preston New Road (in direct opposition to the will of Lancashire County Council) as a particularly “sickening” act:

“It shows that it was possible for Westminster to say that local democracy doesn’t count when they choose it not to count. It also shows that what we consider to be a clear and obvious danger to the health of our children, comes second to the profits of an industry.”

Objections to fracking are many – from the threat that pumping high volumes of water and chemicals into the ground poses to the local environment, to its global contribution to rising CO2. Even Sam Hall, a senior researcher at Bright Blue, a liberal conservative think tank, is not entirely convinced by the development of more carbon-intensive infrastructure, "at a time when we should be rapidly reducing our consumption of fossil fuels".

Such arguments appear to have struck a seam of sympathy during the recent local elections. The Green Party saw its support surge across numerous at-risk areas: in North Yorkshire's Falsgrave and Stepney, David Malone’s vote rose from 18 per cent - 32 per cent; in Lancashire’s Lancaster Central, Gina Dowding was re-elected with a massively increased majority; and on the Isle of Wight the election returned the Green’s first ever councillor for the island. According to Dilys Cluer, a Green Party councillor on Scarborough Borough Council, some party supporters are becoming more active specifically on fracking.

Independent candidates and Lib Dems also returned strong results in fracked-off locales. In Malton in North Yorkshire – where a test-well was given planning approval last year - the anti-fracking Independent candidate saw their 2013 lead surge from 855-1554 votes.

So is it possible that these arguments could yet cause Conservative government support for the industry to fissure and split?....

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