Sarah Owen, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Hastings & Rye, has condemned the announcement that Prime Minister David Cameron is incentivising local councils to back fracking.
In a move denounced by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, the Prime Minister has pledged that local authorities supporting hydraulic fracturing – known as fracking – to extract shale gas will receive all the business rates collected from such schemes in their areas, instead of the usual 50 per cent.
“I have serious concerns over the potential damage to local water supplies. We already have water shortages in this area most summers, so we cannot afford to take such high risks for ourselves or for our local farming communities across rural Sussex. We simply don’t know the impact that fracking will have on our health and on the environment, which is why we need stringent checks before they go ahead with any more drill sites.
“This self-proclaimed ‘greenest government ever’ has slashed support for renewable energy but now wants to gamble tax payers’ money and our environment with fracking, which has an unknown impact on prices and safety. We don’t even know if it will lead to a fall in energy prices. Claims that it will lead to cheaper energy are based on large-scale fracking in unpopulated areas of the USA, it’s simply not comparable to Sussex.
“On this occasion, I hope that Amber Rudd is actually going to stand up to David Cameron, who isn’t fooling anyone with what is essentially a cheap bribe to local councils to set aside their misgivings about this risky experiment. I challenge her to be honest with her constituents and reveal if she supports fracking in Hastings and Rye.”
Concerns have been expressed across the United States that fracking may lead to contaminated water supplies. It is also feared that fracking will cause serious environmental damage and even earthquakes, such as two near Blackpool in 2011 that have been directly linked to the drilling site at Preese Hall.