OPPOSITION politicians in the region have slammed the Government’s support for fracking.
Labour and the Green Party have criticised the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats for supporting fracking when, they claim, the case has not been fully made.
The Green Party’s lead spokesman for the North West, Peter Cranie, blasted the Lib Dems for backing fracking and nuclear power.
He said: “Lib Dem policies on the environment are holed below the waterline.
“It’s clear that no amount of 5p plastic bags can hide the fact that their party has abandoned long-held environmental principles.
“I’ve been contacted by more than one Liberal Democrat. I’m sure there are many more members no longer sure if they can remain members of that party.
“While the Greens may not yet have as many councillors or MPs, current polling suggests that we could leapfrog the Lib Dems in next year’s European Elections. We offer disillusioned Lib Dems an environmental lifeboat.”
Labour’s prospective Parliamentary candidate for Chester, Chris Matheson, said fracking was too risky in the densely populated UK.
He said: “I’m opposed to fracking. I’m not convinced yet about the scientific and geological basis of the process and its effects on the environment.
“What might be acceptable in the wide open spaces of Texas is quite unsuitable for densely populated parts of the UK such as Cheshire.
“Energy companies claim we’ll have an abundant supply of cheap energy but do people in Chester really believe this, as their ever-increasing domestic fuel bills are exceeded only by the energy companies’ vast profits?
“I suspect most residents in our city will be cynical of such boasts by the energy companies and the frackers themselves.
“Their main concern is not the environment or consumers, but their own bottom line.” The MP for Chester, Stephen Mosley, disagrees.
He said shale gas could help reduce household energy bills. The Conservative MP said: “Shale gas has a massive potential to drastically reduce household energy bills and reduce Britain’s reliance on imported gas.
“It also acts as a bridge to a greener future. Gas is the cleanest fossil fuel and plays a huge role in reducing climate change.
“There are already large numbers of exploratory drilling sites and their low impact means that local communities do not even notice that drilling is taking place.
“Planning decisions will be made by each local authority and the UK has a strong regulatory system that provides a comprehensive regime for shale gas exploration.
“The huge benefits that shale gas will bring to homes, energy consumers and the nation mean we should be developing the technology and expertise to fully exploit this fantastic new energy source as swiftly as possible.”