‘Thumbs-up to fracking won’t benefit us’ - MP

Gordon Marsden MP

Gordon Marsden MP

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Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said Thursday’s thumbs-up to fracking would not benefit Blackpool

He said the industry would damage other existing industries such as tourism.

He said: “Across Blackpool and the Fylde we have heard concerns expressed from thousands of local people, including farmers, business owners and health professionals about safety, the future of our countryside and public health.

“Yet this Government cynically is ignoring all of them to pander to its fracking backers.

“I have consistently attacked this Government over their hypocrisy and double standards in giving communities a say over wind farms but not over fracking and challenged David Cameron in Prime Minister’s Question Time on it.

“This decision flies in the face of all the other developments in our area with the potential of the new Enterprise Zone at Squires Gate and the offshore activity in Liverpool Bay to make us locally a centre for wind, wave,solar, biomass and other sustainable green energy as the way forward. Going down that route would create far more jobs, skills and apprenticeships for a safe low- carbon energy future.

“The number of skilled, long-term sustainable jobs fracking would create locally, despite the exaggerated unsubstantiated claims of its backers, would be negligible.

“I have been calling over this past year for initiatives for a ‘Cleaner, Greener Blackpool’.

“We should continue to fight for that and against this Government and its decision which would condemn people across the Fylde to years of road congestion, noise and pollution , a threat to our rural and seaside tourism.”

But Claire Smith, president of Stay Blackpool and a member of Lancashire for Shale’s steering group, said: “The announcement is good news for Lancashire’s tourism and hospitality sector.

“In 2014, more than 50 Blackpool hoteliers signed a letter calling for its development – saying it had the potential to boost growth and investment in our sector. Evidence from Scotland and America shows a thriving oil and gas sector has also resulted in a positive economic benefit to tourism and hospitality.”