Lancashire chiefs continue to back fracking plans

Pledge: Barry Gardiner

Pledge: Barry Gardiner

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Business leaders say they will continue to support shale gas exploration despite Labour saying it would ban fracking if it came to power.

Shadow energy minister Barry Gardiner told the Labour party conference this week that his party would outlaw fracking as the party was backing clean technologies.

Our position is not to take sides in the ongoing political debate but to support the significant opportunity that this industry would bring to our local business community and its workforce.

A decision is expected shortly on Cuadrilla’s appeal against Lancashire County Council’s refusal to allow it to frack for shale gas at two Lancashire sites.

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said: “Our position is not to take sides in the ongoing political debate but to support the significant opportunity that this industry would bring to our local business community and its workforce. The full economic benefits to Lancashire are not known at this stage but, as the industry develops, new jobs will be created across the supply chain with a significant amount of revenue going back into the local economy.”

Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, said: “We are disappointed that Labour has reversed the positive view of shale gas it has held to date, without a proper Party debate.

“This runs contrary to the views of many of Unions and Labour MPs who understand that it will play a vital role in ensuring Britain’s energy security for 80 per cent of UK homes that rely on gas for heating and cooking and create much-needed jobs and investment.”

But Tony Bosworth, Friends of the Earth campaigner, said:“Fracking is fundamentally incompatible with the UK’s climate change commitments. The Government is increasingly isolated in its determination to impose fracking on communities.”