Monday 4 March 2013 - Greenpeace campaigners have blocked off the village green in Chancellor George Osborne’s Tatton constituency, erecting drilling rigs and other fracking equipment, while climbers have occupied the first floor balcony of his constituency office building and renamed it as the headquarters of “Frack & Go”. (1)
The fracking of Osborne’s village green comes as a ComRes poll is released, showing the majority of his constituents oppose shale gas extraction, with widespread concern over noise and disruption, earth tremors and the impact on local house prices should fracking go ahead in the area. (2)
Licenses for exploratory drilling have already been granted in Tatton. IGas says it considers rocks in the area to contain shale with a ‘high potential to be hydrocarbon bearing’. (3)
“Tatton is just one of hundreds of constituencies up and down the country earmarked for possible fracking as part of George Osborne’s disastrous energy plan (4),” said Greenpeace Energy Campaigner Lawrence Carter, speaking from Frack&Go’s onsite office.
“The Chancellor needs to explain to his constituents why he’s happy for their local area to be fracked when everyone from Ofgem to BP to the Energy Secretary says shale gas won’t reduce our energy bills. And he must explain why increasing UK reliance on expensive, polluting gas is a good idea when we should be moving towards a carbon free electricity system.”
The ComRes poll shows most people in George Osborne’s constituency prefer renewable energy over gas (5).
Lawrence Carter: “George Osborne has used the fantasy of a UK shale gas boom to justify building 40 new gas fired power stations and increase the UK’s reliance on gas. Consumers will end up paying the price for this.”
The ComRes polling found that 12% of those people who voted Conservative in the last election would be less likely to vote Tory again if fracking went ahead in Tatton. “It seems Osborne is so wedded to his dash for gas that he’s willing to ignore the views of his own constituents,” said Carter.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England has warned of a huge backlash if large areas of countryside are ‘transformed into industrial sites’ with a steady stream of lorries transporting gas and polluted water away from drilling sites. (6)
MPs in Osborne’s own party have said controversy over wind farms will look like a walk in the park compared with the fight over fracking in the heartlands of England’s countryside. (7)
Greenpeace, along with hundreds of investors, business leaders, UK companies and civil society groups, is calling for carbon free electricity by 2030. So far George Osborne has blocked the 2030 goal becoming law, but his own colleague, Conservative MP Tim Yeo, has tabled an amendment that would see a goal for carbon-free electricity in the Energy Bill, which is gaining support from all political parties.
Lawrence Carter said: “It’s time George Osborne stopped trying to play the JR Ewing of Cheshire and concentrated on investment in clean, safe, renewable technology that will create longer term jobs and a more stable economy.”
For video and stills of the activity, please contact the Greenpeace UK picture desk on: 020 7865 8118 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For media inquiries please contact Kathy Cumming on 07801212959 or the Greenpeace press office on 02078658255
For a full Greenpeace briefing on fracking, go to: http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/document/shale-gas-briefing-feb-2013
(2) 69% of people polled were worried about increased road traffic, 72% about increase noise and disruption, 68% about earth tremors and 63% about house prices falling. http://www.comres.co.uk/polls/Greenpeace_Fracking_Tatton_Poll_February_2...
(3) http://www.igasplc.com/north-dee1.aspx (relevant license is PEDL 193)
(5) 52% of respondents prefer wind or solar, compared with just 15% who want gas. The other respondents selected nuclear (22%), coal (4%), none of these (3%) or didn’t know.