Burnley spa and hotel supremo calls for fracking in Lancashire amid Ukraine crisis

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Burnley entrepreneur Andrew Brown has called on the Government to look again at the controversial practice of fracking in Lancashire in light of the ongoing Ukraine and energy crisis.

Mr Brown, who owns the successful Crow Wood Hotel and Spa resort, made the call in a letter to Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham.

The outspoken businessman who stood as an independent candidate in the 2010 General Election in Burnley, said: “We are all appalled by Putin’s actions and believe he will not stop at Ukraine.

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“Putin sees Biden and NATO generally as weak, frankly who can blame him.

Crow Wood Hotel and Spa resort owner Andrew BrownCrow Wood Hotel and Spa resort owner Andrew Brown
Crow Wood Hotel and Spa resort owner Andrew Brown

“It is inconceivable that we are sitting around watching towns and cities full of civilians being systematically bombed, this is a rerun of Hitler’s blitzkrieg.

“The time to act is now. The west needs to tell China we are going to act. Give Putin 24 hours to cease fire or we will destroy all his forces in Ukraine. We have the military capability; Russian forces are poorly motivated and generally have poor equipment and lack leadership.

“Successive governments have dodged all the difficult questions relating to our energy security. The fact is we need a blend of all forms of energy production. It is now acknowledged that we are paying the price for dithering on nuclear and we are clearly exposed now to a worldwide energy crisis.

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“We need to start fracking now and continue to develop the North Sea oil fields. The argument that fracking in Lancashire will make no difference to the price of European energy is frankly ridiculous, a fifteen year old studying basic economics would find the statement unbelievable.

"Legislation could be passed limiting the extraction of fracked gas to 5% of our total energy needs in perpetuity. This is a national emergency, to cap the wells in Preston would be a crazy decision when set against the financial support Russia gave to the anti-fracking movement and totally exaggerated claims of environmental damage.

“Everyone accepts that mankind is damaging the planet and we do need to retain our focus on alternatives to fossil fuels, I fear our current headlong rush is too fast and will be economically very damaging.

“Putin wants to see us dismantle our steel-making capabilities and other energy hungry industries, China looks on and rubs its hands as steel, glass, shipbuilding and many other industries evaporate.

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“Fracking will create jobs, help our energy security, help our balance of payments and will no doubt be done to the tightest environmental safeguards in the world.”

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Towneley Hall lit up in support of Ukraine

Mr Higginbotham had raised the issue of the growing energy crisis in the House of Commons last month.

Addressing the Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth Greg Hands, Mr Higginbotham said: “Global energy prices continue to be very volatile which is a big concern to constituents of mine in Burnley and Padiham. We know a reason of this is the weaponisation of energy by countries like Russia, which has only highlighted how we need to not rely on hostile state actors.”

Mr Hands replied: “Our exposure to global gas prices underscores the importance, both of our own North Sea gas production, but also of building a strong renewable sector to reduce our reliance on energy imports in the first place.”