Responding to the news report that Fracking is set to start again in the UK, after being suspended in 2011, following two minor earthquakes; Liberal Democrat spokesperson for North East Derbyshire, Ross Shipman, said:
“The events in Preston North Road are of very real concern to the residents of North East Derbyshire. It was the events in Lancashire, seven years ago, that led to the Liberal Democrats undertaking a full scale review of fracking and we determined that the risks outweighed any potential benefits.”
In Scotland, the Liberal Democrats helped to secure an outright ban on fracking and Ross Shipman wants to see that ban extended. He argues:
“There are those who argue that decisions should be made on a local basis; but environmental impacts don’t stop as soon as they reach an imaginary boundary line on a map. Many parts of the UK, North Derbyshire included, are riddled with unmapped mine workings. A repeat of the Preston North Road incident would be an absolute disaster in those parts of the country. It’s quite clear that those who most vocally support fracking live in those parts of the country where it’s never going to happen.”
When asked about the potential energy shortfall, Ross is equally firm. “By their nature, fossil fuels have a limited lifespan. Fracking only presents a short-term solution at best. We live on an island where wind and hydro electricity are in constant supply; and solar energy these days is driven by light rather than heat – so we already live in an environment where our long term energy requirements can be met. We just need to train people in these industries and adapt to full scale production.
“I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people talk about energy security; but we’re already in a position where that needn’t be a concern if we make the switch from fossil fuels. Economically and environmentally there is no logical argument in favour of fracking. We need to stop wasting money on it and start investing in something which has long term sustainability.”