The party intends to work with MPs who oppose fracking to force the Government to maintain the ban.
13 October 2022
Labour has pledged to ban fracking “once and for all” as it hit out at suggestions that the Government could move to ban solar farms from much of England’s farmland.
The party intends to work with MPs who oppose fracking to force the Government to maintain the ban, one of several issues to divide the Conservatives since Liz Truss became leader.
The new administration’s environmental commitments have come under severe scrutiny in recent weeks after lifting England’s fracking ban, in place since 2019 following a series of earth tremors, and giving the green light to the expansion of oil and gas operations in the North Sea.
Ed Miliband, Labour’s shadow climate secretary, will visit Bassetlaw on Friday to meet with the party’s candidate Jo White and local residents to listen to concerns about the potential for fracking in their area.
Labour is working to bring forward an opposition day motion to maintain the current ban, Mr Miliband is expected to tell locals during his visit.
In his speech to Labour’s party conference last month, Sir Keir Starmer promised to create a publicly-owned energy company to ensure energy security in the UK.
Mr Miliband said: “Labour will stand with communities in opposing the Conservatives’ dodgy plans to impose expensive, dirty, and dangerous fracking on the British people.
“Fracking would make no difference to energy prices, and could risk the health of local communities, nature, and water supplies.”
Hitting out at what he called Ms Truss’s “unjust charter for earthquakes”, he said Labour would stand up to her plan to “outsource decisions about local consent to fracking companies”.
Some MPs have been clamouring for a vote on the controversial issue, while the Government has insisted that future applications will be considered where there is local support, although it is not clear how that will be measured.
The 2019 Conservative manifesto pledged not to lift England’s moratorium unless “the science shows categorically it can be done safely”.
A Government-commissioned report by the British Geological Survey (BGS) suggested more data was needed, but despite the lack of scientific progress, Ms Truss’s administration has torn up the manifesto commitment.
Mr Miliband will also visit a solar farm, where he is expected to set out his party’s opposition to any plan that would block new solar projects.
Downing Street this week confirmed that Ms Truss is opposed to the installation of solar panels on productive agricultural lands.
“If Liz Truss blocks solar power she will be declaring unilateral energy disarmament – undermining our energy security and forcing the British people to accept decades of higher energy bills,” Mr Miliband said.
“Only Labour can deliver lower energy bills and energy security for the UK, with our plans for clean power by 2030 – including trebling solar power – and GB Energy, a publicly-owned, clean energy company, to make Britain an energy independent superpower.”