Under the guise of newly-formed fracking company
Frack & Go, we've arrived en masse in the picturesque town of
Knutsford in George Osborne’s Tatton constituency, to give local
people a taste of what might happen if George gets his dash for gas and
fracking goes ahead locally.
'Frack off!' flashes
a road sign on the village green,
before flicking over to, 'Osborne:
Driving Tatton to frack and ruin'. A giant drilling rig towers overhead,
drilling sounds pierce the air and surveyors in high-vis vests calculate where
to drill next.
Meanwhile, climbers are installing a giant company sign -
Frack & Go – on the balcony of Osborne’s constituency office, a delightful
heritage building overlooking the green.
Hold onto your hard hats - fracking has come to Tatton!
Fracking is how you get shale gas out of the ground. You
drill holes, then inject water and chemicals at high pressure in order to
fracture shale rock and force out the gas.
Osborne is pitching it as the
answer to the UK’s energy woes and a reason not to invest in renewable energy. It’s a
key plank of his dash for gas.
But energy experts disagree, saying it’s hard to
know how much UK shale there is, and no matter how much is found, it won’t
bring down bills.
So for communities like Tatton - where licences have already
been issued for exploratory drilling - fracking could end up being a lot of
pain for very little gain. And if the Chancellor thinks his gas plans are going
to be all ‘plain shale-ing’, he’s got another thing coming.
Most local people
don’t want it. A poll out today reveals that the majority of Tatton residents
oppose fracking, and have serious concerns about noise, disruption, traffic and
The poll also found that 12% of people who voted
Conservative in the last election are unlikely to vote Tory again if fracking
goes ahead locally.
Tatton is just one of hundreds of constituencies up and down
the country where licenses have been issued for exploratory drilling as part of
Osborne’s disastrous energy strategy. The strategy would bust UK climate
targets and leave us dangerously dependent on polluting gas – mostly imports
from places like Qatar.
Instead, just like hundreds of investors,
business leaders, UK companies and civil society groups, we want to see
carbon-free electricity by 2030, which will be cleaner, safer and cheaper over
Osborne has fought to keep a goal of carbon-free energy by
2030 out of the Energy Bill. But his own colleague - Conservative MP Tim Yeo -
has tabled an amendment that would see it included. In an extraordinary show of
support for clean energy, 21,000 people have emailed their local
MP to ask them to vote for Yeo’s amendment.
The Chancellor should stop trying to play
Britain’s JR Ewing and concentrate instead on clean energy and proven growth